Mobile World Congress is the world’s biggest smartphone event, and 2021’s edition is set to go ahead in Barcelona with some major changes to make it safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The GSMA – the company that organizes the big phone show – has laid out its exact plan so it can ensure the show can go ahead. The company moved the event from its normal February timing to the end of June. MWC 2021 is now set to take place in Barcelona, Spain from June 28 until July 1.
Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, has confirmed to TechRadar that the company intends to move its event back to February for the 2022 edition of the show. “We do want to be going back to the February Barcelona rhythm once 2021 is done.” Granryd said. “A lot of product launches are happening towards the beginning of the year, so we’d like to time that into our event.”
At the moment, we’ve yet to hear of any upcoming smartphones that may be revealed at the event. We may begin to hear leaks and rumors of certain devices that use MWC 2021 as a launch event, we’re expecting to hear of the Sony Xperia 1 III and Nokia 10 in the coming months, but so far it seems most manufacturers are opting for separate events.
How is MWC 2021 possible?
To adapt for Covid-19, the company has confirmed MWC 2021 will be a hybrid event with certain elements taking place online so those attending virtually won’t miss out on everything. How will the company make a physical version of the 2021 show possible? A variety of new health measures have been confirmed by the GSMA, and the number one is that the company is restricting the amount of people that can attend.
In previous years, the event has been attended by nearly 110,000 people from 109 countries from around the world. For the 2021 event, the GSMA believes it’ll have around 50,000 attendees. Each attendee will need to follow strict rules to gain access to the show, which will include getting a Covid-19 test that can confirm each person has a negative result before they arrive in Barcelona.
The event itself will then also need a valid negative test for you to be able to enter the venue. You’ll need to repeat this test every 72 hours to ensure you can regain access to the show. It’ll also be a contactless event with digital badges on your smartphone allowing access to elements of the event and payments at retailers switched to contactless bank transactions.
Other precautions include expanded entrances to the event itself, more open air events around the Fira Gran Via, multiple test centers and temperature checks at a variety of access points. Granryd confirmed to TechRadar that these are evolving plans and they may be subject to change. Plus, the GSMA plans to give further instructions for attendees in the coming months.