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Ericsson pulls out of biggest mobile industry event due to virus

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Ericsson withdrew from the telecommunications industry's biggest annual event to protect its staff and visitors from the coronavirus.

[HELSINKI] Ericsson withdrew from the telecommunications industry's biggest annual event to protect its staff and visitors from the coronavirus.

The Swedish maker of mobile networks on Friday said it had pulled out of the GSMA MWC Barcelona 2020, due to be held Feb 24 to Feb 27. As one of the largest exhibitors with thousands of visitors in its hall each day, Ericsson said it could not guarantee their health and safety.

"It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year's event," Chief Executive Officer Borje Ekholm said. "This is not a decision we have taken lightly."

The demos and content created for MWC Barcelona will be showcased close to customers at local events, the company said. Nokia Oyj, Ericsson's Finnish rival, said in an emailed response to questions that it's monitoring the situation closely and as of now is still planning to attend the event, "but the situation is fluid."

China has reported more than 31,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and more than 600 people have died in the country since the outbreak began.

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