CTIA moves spring 2012 show to New Orleans in May

CTIA is heading back to The Big Easy.

The wireless industry trade group said it will hold its spring 2012 show in May instead of March, and that New Orleans will be the host. The action brings the confab back to the Crescent City for the first time since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

This year's CTIA Wireless conference will be held in Orlando, Fla., starting March 22, a little more than one month after the end of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The GSMA, which hosts Mobile World Congress, announced that its 2012 show will be held from Feb. 27 to March 1, 2012.

In a conference call with reporters, John Walls, CTIA's vice president of public affairs, said there are a number of reasons moving the show to May makes sense. "First and foremost it's about being responsive to what our customers are telling us," he said. Walls said the move will allow a host of companies--from carriers to handset makers to network technology vendors--to take advantage of the back-to-school product cycle as well as get closer to the holiday shopping season.

Walls said the CTIA has spent the past two years gathering feedback from exhibitors on when would be best time to hold the show, which will be held May 8 to 10, 2012, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He also said the CTIA still believes there is room in the calendar to hold two major trade shows per year; CTIA's fall show, CTIA Enterprise and Applications, will be held in San Diego in 2011 and 2012.

Walls acknowledged the crowded nature of industry trade shows. "We thought giving it a little cushion between these other events made a lot of sense," he said, adding that the move will allow exhibitors and attendees to better "physically and fiscally attend."

"We've been talking about it for some time, to find the sweet spot for the industry to come together at the right time of the year to do business and improve its business," he said. "We were of the mind that moving it back and giving it space made some sense."

CTIA expects to have around 40,000 attendees at this March's show, bringing attendance back to 2008 levels, according to ConnectedPlanet.

This will be the seventh time the CTIA has held a trade show in New Orleans. Since 2005 the spring show has alternated between Orlando and Las Vegas; New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Walls said only a handful of cities can accommodate a show like CTIA's spring get-together, and named Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and New York as other potential hosts. However, he said New Orleans fit the bill in part because "we have a lot of confidence that from a pure hosting sense they can facilitate" the show. 

"We like the idea of going back there," he said. "We love the city, we love the experiences we've had there and we think those experiences are only going to improve when we go to an enhanced venue."

For more:
- see this release
- see this ConnectedPlanet article

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