MWC 2021 delayed from March to June 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns
Big tech conferences were canceled left and right this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though some events managed to successfully go virtual, others, like MWC 2020, weren’t able to make the transition in time. If you were hoping that things would return to normal next year, we have some bad news to share. With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GSMA has decided to delay MWC 2021.
MWC 2021 was originally scheduled to be held in March 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. However, SARS-CoV-2 will likely still be a major concern around that time. Even if the Spain manages to contain the spread of the coronavius, an international event the size of MWC 2021 could reintroduce the disease to Spain and even spread it to other parts of the world again. While the first batch of vaccines may be ready by March, it’ll take a while before it’s been safely administered to most people—and it seems a vaccine is the only real way the world can return to some sense of normalcy. Because of this risk, the GSMA has decided to postpone MWC 2021 until June of next year.
#GSMA today announced a rescheduling of MWC Barcelona & MWC Shanghai 2021.
Moving the Barcelona event to 28 June – 1 July 2021 allows the GSMA to contend with external circumstances related to COVID-19.
— GSMA (@GSMA) September 23, 2020
It is not clear if this postponement will affect smartphone launches planned for next year as it did when MWC 2020 was canceled. While it’s true that a lot of smartphones launched during the first half of the year are announced during MWC, most companies have already learned their lesson this year and will likely have contingencies in place. Since MWC was cancelled this year, most smartphone announcements were made by each OEM at their own virtual events. Samsung’s first Unpacked event of each year, while typically occur around the same time as MWC, are almost always a separate event, so that is likely to go on as normal. We can expect the same will happen for next year’s smartphone announcements: They will be held online. MWC 2021, then, if it ends up actually happening, may instead be the place for other mobile-related announcements or smaller launch events.