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5G

Some 5G providers step back from CES

T-Mobile said its CEO will no longer provide a keynote presentation at the CES trade show in Las Vegas next month. And AT&T confirmed it too will not send any executives to the show.

"After careful consideration and discussion, T-Mobile has made the difficult decision to significantly limit our in-person participation at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. While we are confident that CES organizers are taking exhaustive measures to protect in-person attendees and we had many preventative practices in place as well, we are prioritizing the safety of our team and other attendees with this decision," the company said in a statement.

"T-Mobile will continue to serve as a CES sponsor and title sponsor of the DRL Championship Race but the vast majority of our team will not be traveling to Las Vegas. Additionally, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert will no longer be offering a keynote in-person or virtually. T-Mobile's entire team looks forward to an in-person CES 2023, which we hope includes an on-stage keynote in front of a live audience. We extend our sincere thanks to the entire CES staff for their hard work during these challenging times."

Separately, an AT&T spokesperson confirmed to Light Reading on Wednesday that the company is exiting the show. "The health and safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, so we have decided to forego in-person participation at CES 2022," AT&T said in a statement.

Amazon, Twitter and Meta are among the other companies that have reportedly pulled out of the show.

T-Mobile's move is noteworthy considering the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in July loudly touted Sievert's planned keynote as a top draw for attendees. And for T-Mobile, the company had undoubtedly hoped to use the CES keynote stage to tout its leading position in the rollout of midband 5G. Indeed, T-Mobile's network in Las Vegas is being used to remotely drive rental cars around the city. Verizon, for its part, used its own CES keynote in 2019 to outline its 5G vision.

Verizon's CEO Hans Vestberg made a splash at the 2019 CES. (Source: CES)
Verizon's CEO Hans Vestberg made a splash at the 2019 CES.
(Source: CES)

Officials from Verizon did not immediately respond to questions about CES from Light Reading. Verizon has close to half a dozen speakers listed in the show's agenda.

And Dish Network doesn't plan to have a formal presence at the show. That's interesting considering Dish had hoped to turn on its 5G network in Las Vegas sometime this year, but that launch was delayed. During Dish's earnings call in early November, the company said it is offering a 5G beta service in Las Vegas with an unspecified number of employees and other "friendly" users. Early tests of the network have shown mixed results, but relatively substantial coverage.

A Dish official said the company is sending a few executives to the show for meetings, and that those plans remain in place.

Finally, it's worth noting that the RSA Conference 2022 on Wednesday announced it will move its in-person event in San Francisco from February 7-10 to June 6-9, 2022.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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