BERLIN/HELSINKI, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Nokia and Deutsche Telekom became the latest big name companies to pull out of this month's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona because of the coronavirus outbreak, adding to the likelihood the event could be scrapped.
Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics also joined the list of absentees on Wednesday, scheduled to take place on Feb. 24-27.
The event is the telecoms industry's biggest annual gathering, with companies spending millions on stands and hospitality to fill their order books.
A source familiar with the matter said Deutsche Telekom, Germany's largest telecoms company, would not attend, adding an official announcement by other European telecoms operators was possible later in the day.
Telecoms equipment maker Nokia said it believed it was a "prudent decision" to cancel its participation.
"Nokia plans to go directly to customers with a series of Nokia Live events aimed at showcasing the industry-leading demos and launches scheduled for MWC," the Finnish company said in a statement, setting out its alternative plans.
Even after a spate of withdrawals, with U.S. exhibitors pulling out en masse on Tuesday, the GSMA has so far stood by its line that the event will go ahead. The GSMA board, comprising industry executives, will convene on Friday to review its options, sources said. (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Keith Weir and Elaine Hardcastle)