The last days are being tremendously hard for the organizers of the Mobile World Congress. The coronavirus outbreak is causing panic among technology companies, which prefer not to attend the fair to prevent their employees from risking catching it.
As the days go by, the list of absentees is increasing. Among them are firms as well known in the sector as LG, Nvidia, Amazon, Ericsson and Sony. In this sense, all the sources consulted by this newspaper indicate that these losses will not be the only ones.
The celebration of the Mobile World Congress seems to be hanging by a thread, but, let’s enter to appreciate the importance of the brands that have canceled their participation. Are they really that important to the fair?
Coronavirus, an ideal alibi
Each and every technology company that has canceled its participation in Mobile has alluded to similar reasons: to protect its employees from a possible infection from coronavirus.
However, realistically, these companies could have taken advantage of the situation to missing an appointment that was not so relevant to them. Analyzing case by case, it can be shown what exactly it means for companies not to be present at the well-known fair.
We start with LG. As has already been pointed out for a few days, the South Korean entity is a giant if we talk about technology, there is no doubt about that. However, LG is important when it comes to mobile?
The answer is emphatic: no, it is not and the numbers support it. To demonstrate it with data, according to the figures of the consulting firm CounterPoint, LG only sells 2% of the smartphonesglobally, although it is still a strong company, its smartphones They no longer have a major impact on the sector.
During this Monday it has been Sony who was added to the list of great absentees, although in his case they will hold a press conference through their official Xperia channel on YouTube. This will be held on February 24 at 08:30, thus keeping the same date and time for the presentation that they were going to do at Mobile.
As can be seen in the sales table of smartphones globally, Sony’s situation is even worse than LG’ssince they do not even appear in it. As of today they are not relevant in the telephone sector and it does not seem that their absence in Mobile could affect them so much, because they will make the presentation on-line.
Continuing with phone manufacturers, the Chinese firm also added to the list of absences Umidigi and TCL, known for its Alcatel and Blackberry phones. In both cases the history of Sony and LG is repeated, they are well-known firms but they are not among the most important of mobile phones.
Another of the most notable absences during the last days has been that of Amazon. However, regretting the absence of this multinational does not make any sense, as it has no impact on the MWC.
Yes, it is one of the most valuable companies in the world, but Amazon does not manufacture phones, at least for now. In other words, the fact that Amazon does not go to Mobile cannot be considered a bump, as evidenced by the fact that a large part of the technology press was not even aware that the company would attend the event.
Nvidia nor go to the MWC, but neither can it be said that this is a great loss for the fair. As with Amazon, they do not manufacture mobile phones, although they do have a greater relationship with the sector, since they develop some components that are present in some devices, such as graphics cards.
In case of Ericsson it is quite different from all the previous ones. Although the firm does not sell mobile phones, I know that it is a major player in mobile phones, much more than all the previous ones.
And it is due to 5G, since it is one of the most important providers of this technology together with Huawei and Nokia. In fact, Ericsson had Mobile’s largest pavilion, over 6,000 square meters. Undoubtedly, its absence is the one that can have the most repercussion of those known to date.
Obviously, no one knows the reasons really put in the minds of the directors of these companies for not attending such a well-known event. However, it is curious that they refer to the prevention of infection as a reason when not even the who has spoken out against holding the Mobile World Congress.
In fact, GSMA, the organizer of Mobile, has already announced several measures to prevent contagion. In this sense, it prohibit entry to any traveler from Hubei, in addition to requiring all those who come from China to demonstrate that they have been away for more than 14 days. Similarly, these may be subjected to temperature controls.
Taking all these measures into account, it seems Mobile unlikely to become a focus of coronavirus infection. It is suspicious that some of the firms that have decided to be absent are having a bad time. This leads some experts to suspect that behind this apparent concern for public health, there is a headline grabbing strategy in which they could not appear in any other way.
For now, the most painful absence will be Ericsson’s. We will have to wait to see if any of the greats falls, although everything seems to indicate that Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei or Oppo they will not miss the appointment. In case of doing so, I know that it could be anticipated that the Mobile World Congress may be canceled or cease to have the importance attributed to it at this time.