In-person MWC21 is still happening, but with a lot of precautions

MWC 2019
MWC 2019 (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • GSMA has announced extensive health protocols for MWC21.
  • Venue has been outfitted with a new ventilation system, and redesigns allow for one-way traffic and better social distancing.
  • Those attending must be tested before arriving and every 72-hours, with on-site testing available.

MWC21 is still happening this year. After being canceled last year due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the show where companies gather to announce some of the best Android phones each year is returning, but at a much later date. Plans for the event were seemingly up in the air, depending on the state of the pandemic, but MWC21 will go on as a hybrid event this summer, and GSMA announced today in a press release a set of protocols that should ensure a safe, in-person experience this summer.

We've worked with partners, health authorities and medical professionals to create a plan that builds confidence in our return to in-person events. The GSMA has safely and successfully organised premier mobile events for many years.....No doubt, Covid-19 is our biggest challenge to date. But our experience gives us a rock-solid foundation from which we have built our plan.

As part of the new plan, those traveling to MWC21 are expected to receive a negative COVID-19 test before flying to Barcelona, while exhibitors and attendees arriving by train or car will have to validate their health status upon arrival. Anyone in attendance will also be required to receive tests every 72 hours, and the My MWC app will remind participants to get tested and provide daily questionnaires on one's health.

Anyone attending MWC21 will be required to wear masks and use the 1,300 disinfectant dispensers at the venue. There will be multiple testing centers available at the venue and temperature checks at all access points. The number of entrances and exits has been increased for one-way traffic and to ensure social distancing. Interactions within the venue will be digitized and "touchless," including at the restaurants which have received a redesign to adhere to social distancing protocols. The venue also has an upgraded ventilation system and improved monitoring to regulate capacity.

With a later date for MWC21, it'll be curious to see what devices get launched at the event. Many flagship smartphones launch in the first few months of the year, like the upcoming OPPO Find X3 or the rumored Sony Xperia 1 III, and June/July launch may seem too soon for H2 2021 flagships to be announced. Many flagship smartphones like the Google Pixel 6, for example, aren't expected until the fall, although this could change with many OEMs pushing their launch dates up this year.

GSMA highlights the success it had at MWC Shanghai, which concluded at the end of February, and will continue to adapt its protocols with the most up-to-date information to ensure a successful show this summer. MCW21 in Barcelona will take place from June 28th to July 1st.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.