There will be no Russian pavilion at the telecoms industry’s largest annual gathering and a “handful” of Russian companies will be excluded due to sanctions imposed on Russia for its attack on Ukraine, said Friday the organizer of the event.
Mobile World Congress (MWC) organizers condemn Moscow’s actions but there are no plans to cancel or postpone the rally scheduled between February 28 and March 3 in Barcelona, chief executive John Hoffman told Reuters. from the event organizer GSMA.
“As we see the situation today, we see no need or requirement to do so. Of course, this is an evolving situation and we will continue to monitor it,” Hoffman said.
He said “a handful, a few” Russian companies and their executives would be banned but did not name them, saying sanctions lists were evolving.
“We are guided by international sanctions and certain companies are identified on the sanctions list and these will be banned from participation,” he said, adding that the GSMA would strictly follow US sanctions as well as others.
Conference organizers are expecting between 40,000 and 60,000 people at the show, making it one of the largest in-person events since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, although it is still below the numbers of 2019.
Hoffman said the figure would likely be closer to 60,000 and turnout would be very high among senior executives.
Constanti Serrallonga, general manager of Fira de Barcelona, the venue of the event, spoke of good preparation for the rally.
“We expect to see an edition that will almost look like a pre-pandemic event.”
The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has not resulted in any significant cancellations of hotels in Barcelona linked to the event, except for some Eastern European representatives, tourist website Hosteltur reported.
For Barcelona’s Nobu Hotel, the return of a large-format conference meant it could reopen after being closed for two years due to the pandemic.
“We expect Mobile World Congress to live up to our expectations…we are setting the tone for Barcelona to be back,” said manager Laurence Dubey.