CCA looking to draw Caribbean operators to annual show

Sue Marek

The Competitive Carriers' Association is banking on a new location for its annual confab coupled with a strong lineup of keynote speakers and panelists to help it regain some momentum that was lost in 2014 when it co-located its conference with CTIA's Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas.

According to CCA CEO Steve Berry, the association has secured more exhibitors for this year's event and registration numbers are looking up for the group's annual conference, which will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Oct. 7-9. "We are seeing a lot of interest. We are rebounding and doing a pretty good job of attracting consistent members that have always been in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 world," Berry said during an interview with FierceWireless.

Berry noted that in 2014, when CCA's annual show was held in Las Vegas the same week as CTIA's show, CTIA ended up luring away exhibitors that didn't have the manpower to exhibit at both events. "Our board made it clear that it didn't want to be collocated with another large association again," Berry said.

Expect the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction to be a big topic for discussion among CCA attendees that are looking to learn more about the auction's rules and other challenges. "This is an opportunity for carriers to get together and exchange information about the auction," Berry noted.

One of the highlights of the CCA conference will be the keynote address by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on Oct. 8 at 8 a.m. Clyburn has long been a champion for the competitive carrier and was instrumental in making sure the smaller operators would have an opportunity to participate and bid on spectrum in the 600 MHz incentive auction. Expect to hear more about that during her address.

Berry said the show is attracting the attention of some Latin American and Caribbean operators that are not members of the CCA but are interested in finding out more about the group's Data Roaming Hub, which serves as a clearinghouse for participating members to create reciprocal roaming agreements. T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) joined the hub in August. Prior to that Sprint (NYSE: S) had been the main carrier in the hub, which allows CCA members to connect to the hub to roam onto the networks of all of the players in the hub. 

Berry also expects operators to be talking about 5G and what they need to do to prepare for a potentially huge increase in data traffic. I'll be hosting a FierceWireless breakfast panel on "The 5G Vision: Preparing for the Next Stage in Wireless Networks." The breakfast will take place Oct. 7 from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. and during this panel we will talk about what 5G is going to entail as well as look at how operators are likely to migrate from 4G to 5G. We will also talk about how new technologies like millimeter wave are being incorporated into the 5G vision. 

My panelists include:

  • Jay Bluhm, VP, networks at Sprint
  • Glenn Laxdal, CTO and Head of Strategy, Ericsson
  • Mark McDiarmid, VP of Radio Network Engineering and Development, T-Mobile US
  • Wade McGill, VP US Wireless Operations, Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc.

If you haven't already done so, check out the entire CCA agenda here.  And if you want to join me at the FierceWireless breakfast, register here. I look forward to seeing you next week in Fort Lauderdale.--Sue