One of the most immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the telecom industry was the cancellation of spring trade shows. After the GSMA canceled MWC in Barcelona in February, a number of other, smaller trade shows were also called off.
Those cancellations have had a major impact on the companies and associations that rely on revenues generated by those events.
Now though, some telecom companies are rallying around a "no refund needed" pledge to keep their trade association up and running.
"CCA recently decided to cancel their upcoming convention in Dallas due to the coronavirus. It was a tough but prudent decision, and will come with financial ramifications to the CCA organization," wrote Ron Willett, president of vendor ClearSky Technologies, in a LinkedIn post. "ClearSky has let Steven Berry and the CCA team know that we will not be seeking any refunds from CCA for registrations, booths or sponsorships. The work they do in the industry is too important to see them impacted by the restrictions of the coronavirus. If you are able to join us in the 'no refund needed' decision, I am sure the CCA staff would appreciate you letting them know!"
Added Willett: "I have previously used the hashtag 'stronger together' on every Linkedin post. These are the times it needs to be actionable!"
The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) represents many of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 wireless network operators in the US, and the association's president, Steven Berry, often testifies on behalf of the association's members in Congressional hearings. The association hosts two trade shows each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Ericsson, Huawei, Interop Technologies and others were listed as the main sponsors of the association's spring show, which had been scheduled March 30-April 1 in Dallas.
Carolina West Wireless, another major member of CCA, confirmed to Light Reading that it too would not be asking for a refund. "In fact, we have outstanding registration fees we will be paying to help the CCA close the gap on the loss from canceling its spring show," explained Slayton Stewart, CEO of Carolina West Wireless.
The development comes as the GSMA – the premier trade association for the global wireless industry – works to address the cancellation of its own major trade show, MWC Barcelona. That show is widely viewed as the most important event on the global wireless industry's calendar. The GSMA, which derives most of its income from the Barcelona-based MWC and spinoff shows, has unveiled several options for exhibitor refunds.
As the new coronavirus has spread, its effects now stretch far beyond the wireless industry's trade show sector. The pandemic is directly affecting some companies' employees, cutting significantly into firms' financials and potentially their long-term network strategies.