Google says it won’t attend Mobile World Congress 2021

Google says it won’t attend Mobile World Congress 2021

The amount of companies attending Mobile World Congress this year continues to dwindle, with Google the latest to announce it won’t attend the annual event. The event is supposed to go forward with in-person attendance this summer, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of exhibitors have pulled out.

Google released a statement (via The Verge) citing the ongoing pandemic and its concerns for employee and attendee safety as the main reason not to exhibit at this year’s show.

“Following our current COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols, Google has made the decision to not exhibit at Mobile World Congress this year. We will continue to collaborate closely with GSMA and support our partners through virtual opportunities. We look forward to this year’s activities and seeing you in Barcelona in 2022.”

It’s another blow for the GSMA, the organization that puts on the annual event. Previously, Sony, Nokia, Ericsson, and Oracle announced they would not attend this year’s Mobile World Congress. Some of the companies said they would support virtual opportunities in lieu of an in-person exhibit.

“We appreciate that it will not be possible for everyone to attend MWC Barcelona 2021,” the GSMA previously said. “This is why we have developed an industry-leading virtual event platform that will ensure everyone can enjoy the unique MWC experience.”

The GSMA was forced to cancel Mobile World Congress last year as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe. Despite still being in the throes of the same pandemic, the GSMA insisted that it would go ahead with this year’s event.

The organizers have said it has a multi-layered plan to ensure a safe environment for attendees, including requiring attendees to show a negative COVID-19 test. But there’s still the potential to spread the virus, prompting these companies to drop out of an abundance of caution.

COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more accessible in some parts of the world. But with Mobile World Congress set to kick off in June, that’s not enough time to safely allow large crowds to start gathering in indoor venues. Hopefully, by this time next year, it will be a different story.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.