CTIA to have international flair


CTIA Wireless conferences have typically been focused on the North American wireless market but expect this year's conference in Las Vegas April 1-3 to have a much more international flair.

CTIA, the U.S. wireless trade group that hosts the annual confab, is expecting an uptick in international attendance. Typically the conference attracts about 20 percent of attendees from outside the U.S. This year, the group expects it to be higher.

According to CTIA Vice President of Operations Rob Mesirow, the current economic conditions and the weakened dollar are causing many international firms to look at U.S. companies as acquisition targets. If you have deep pockets and are interested in investing in some innovative U.S. companies, a trip to Las Vegas may be the right move for you. There will certainly be lots of small technology startups hungry for investment dollars milling around the show floor and at the various networking events.

As usual, CTIA will have international pavilions where companies from various countries can come together and display their wares. This year there will be eleven international pavilions from countries such as China, Finland, Spain, Ireland and the U.K.

Expect to hear some global wireless insight from Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone.  For the first time, Sarin will be a keynote speaker at CTIA. We predict Sarin will talk about the growing competition between WiMAX and LTE, both of which are positioned as 4G solutions.  Sarin has been outspoken on his views on WiMAX. During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, he argued that WiMAX could find a place within the LTE standard. This was quite a change from his warning at the 2007 Mobile World Congress that WiMAX might eat LTE's lunch.

Of course, if 4G is a topic of interest to you, be sure to check out the "Path to 4G" conference hosted by FierceMarkets on April 2. You can register for it when you register for CTIA. We will have keynote addresses from Kris Rinne, senior vice president of architecture and planning at AT&T and Barry West, CTO and president of Xohm from Sprint Nextel.  Check out the agenda here. -Sue

P.S. Fierce will once again host its popular networking party.  Join us on April 1 from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Rain at The Palm in Las Vegas.  RSVP here.