The CTIA and the Competitive Carrier Association struck a deal to offer attendees of both their annual trade shows in 2014 access to each other's events, which will take place the same week in September in Las Vegas next year. The partnership comes shortly after CTIA snubbed CCA by scheduling its new "super" wireless industry event on Sept. 9-11, 2014, the same week as CCA's smaller show, which the group had publicly scheduled almost two years ago.
CCA's 2014 show will start Sept. 8, a day before CTIA's show, giving CCA a chance to have its keynote session and key networking events ahead of the start of CTIA's larger show. Under the agreement between the two groups, there will be dual-access passes for attendees to attend both CCA and CTIA show floors and keynote sessions; credentialed media may attend both CCA and CTIA shows and have access to the press room, exhibit floor, keynote sessions and educational sessions; and there will be complimentary shuttle service on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 between the Cosmopolitan (where CCA's show will be held) and the Sands Expo (where the CTIA show will be).
"It was no secret, our show has been planned for over two years for those dates," Steve Berry, president and CEO of the CCA, told FierceWireless. "And CTIA scheduled their show on top of ours. And there comes a time when you have to make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak." Berry said CCA and CTIA are planning a similar arrangement for 2015.
CCA's show has always been smaller than CTIA's shows, but over the past several years CCA has grown in stature by taking on Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), T-Mobile USA and Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) as members. As a result, CCA has morphed from being a small trade group primarily dedicated to small, rural operators into a powerful lobbying association that champions wireless operators with fewer than 80 million subscribers--in other words, every U.S. operator except for AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).
Berry said sharing board members helped bring the two trade organizations together. He said he held conversations during the past several months with CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent and Rob Mesirow, CTIA's vice president of operations and show director. "We have different policy positions but if done correctly we can work this out in a cooperative fashion to our vendors and associate members, and carriers can enjoy both venues and both offerings," Berry said.
"Today's announcement with CCA is yet another proof point for why anyone who is in the wireless industry must attend Super Mobility Week, forming a weeklong schedule of business and professional development opportunities," Largent said in a statement
Berry said that each organization will market the other's show and that anyone who registers for a CCA show pass will have access to the CTIA show floor. He also said that the arrangement will allow CCA to focus on its networking events and bringing together C-level executives form carriers and vendors that cater primarily to Tier 2 and 3 operators.
In terms of how the arrangement will affect exhibitors, Berry said CCA spent a great deal of time thinking through the ramifications, and the group performed an internal survey to see how many exhibitors would exhibit at both shows. Berry also said the two groups "have negotiated some special arrangements where CTIA will expedite the relocation of any of our members who want to be on [CTIA's] show floor," especially if they cannot afford to man two booths at the two shows. Under that kind of a plan, there will be an expedited teardown of a company's booth Tuesday or Wednesday of the show week to move it to CTIA's show. Berry said many smaller CCA members book meeting rooms at CTIA shows and that would likely continue.
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