Mobile World Congress is the largest mobile technology show in the world, and its next iteration is set to take place in Barcelona at the end of February. That's despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the concerns around the Omicron variant.
MWC 2022 is set to run from February 28 until March 3, and we expect to see a variety of new smartphones unveiled at the show. With the Omicron threat and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, some brands are now pulling out of the physical show itself.
MWC 2020 was cancelled a few weeks ahead of the event in February 2020 when it was clear the event couldn't go ahead due to the pandemic. MWC 2021 went ahead, but it was a far smaller show and it took place in June of that year to ensure it could be run safely.
TechRadar has asked a variety of the major brands that we'd normally expect to exhibit at Mobile World Congress whether they will be attending MWC 2022. We'll be keeping this page up to date with all the latest over the coming weeks.
Will MWC 2022 still go ahead?
The GSMA, the company that organizes Mobile World Congress, has confirmed to TechRadar on January 25, 2022, that it intends for the event to go ahead.
A spokesperson for the event said, "Our focus at the GSMA remains producing an unmissable event for all of those attending. We have proven our ability to deliver a safe environment with an industry-leading health and safety plan, Committed Community, and three successful events in 2021.”
Confirmed MWC 2022 cancellations
Lenovo has confirmed it won't be exhibiting at the physical show in February. The brand said, "Due to the ongoing trends surrounding COVID, Lenovo’s activation at MWC 2022 will be fully virtual."
A spokesperson for the GSMA told TechRadar, "The GSMA is disappointed, but respects that in an environment with varied opinions and predictions, plans may be modified. We wish them all the best and look forward to welcoming them back next year."
Sony Mobile was the first to confirm it wouldn't be attending MWC 2022. Its statement said, "Sony Corporation has taken the decision that it will not be holding its own booth at MWC 2022. As the world has greatly shifted towards digital and online opportunities, Sony Corporation will communicate in ways that can deliver our exciting product news to a wider audience."
A spokesperson for the GSMA told TechRadar, “The GSMA was surprised to see Sony’s comments about MWC22 Barcelona given the company did not have any reserved space at the event to begin with. Sony has not been an exhibitor at MWC since 2019 due to strategic business decisions made by the company."
Asus has confirmed to TechRadar it won't be attending MWC 2022, but it's unclear if it ever intended to be at the show. The brand revealed new handsets at the show in 2018, but it didn't return for the 2019 event. That means Asus doesn't always appear there, so it may have already chosen to give 2022 a miss.
Confirmed brands for MWC 2022
Other brands that have yet to comment
TechRadar has asked a variety of the major brands that usually appear at Mobile World Congress to confirm plans ahead of the show, and we'll keep this article updated with information as we have it.
Those include Samsung, OnePlus, Qualcomm, HMD Global, Realme, Vivo and other phone makers from around the world.
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James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.