Thursday, 09 April 2020

Exodus of the operators: BT, DT, Vodafone and Orange all out of MWC

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 12 February 20

Major companies are dropping rapidly, leading the GSMA to bring forward the go/no-go discussion

With a slew of recent heavy-hitters out of the event, this year's MWC is on the brink of collapse.    LG were the first company to officially declare that they would not be attending the event over fears of the coronavirus outbreak, but it was Ericsson on Friday that struck the first major blow…

With a slew of recent heavy-hitters out of the event, this year's MWC is on the brink of collapse. 
 
LG were the first company to officially declare that they would not be attending the event over fears of the coronavirus outbreak, but it was Ericsson on Friday that struck the first major blow.
 
Since then, companies have been steadily pulling out, with the most recent losses of Nokia, BT, Vodafone, Orange, and Deutsche Telekom surely rattling the event to its core.
 
Rumour has it that the GSMA has been forced to bring forward a discussion previously planned for Friday as to whether the event would be going ahead or not. Instead, the talk is now suspected to take place this afternoon, so it is possible we may have a final verdict before the end of the day.
 
The situation could put them in between a rock and a hard place, given that the local government will be loath to see the event cancel and the subsequent loss of revenue. 
 
There are also rumours that insurance policies could be a factor, perhaps not paying out if the GSMA ‘chooses’ to end the event, rather than being forced to by local (or perhaps national, in this case) authorities declaring it coronavirus a health emergency.
 
Current lists estimate the number of withdrawn companies at 51, including Deutsche Telekom, BT, Nokia, Samsung, Sprint, AT&T, Facebook, Ericsson, NTT DoCoMo, Sony, Amazon, Orange, and Vodafone. 
 
EDIT: The results from the GSMA's hasty crisis meeting are in: they will not cancel the event yet and will make a final decision on Friday as initially planned. Some reports are suggesting that they are now actively seeking to cancel the event, but are being cajoled into keeping it running due to insurance policy.
 
Also in the news:
 

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