Globalcomm & TelecomNext Rejoin Forces
What once was known as Supercomm, and then later as two separate shows -- Globalcomm and TelecomNext -- is being reincarnated in 2007 as something called "NXTcomm," debuting June 18 to 21 at McCormick Place in Chicago -- the time and place that had been reserved for Globalcomm 2007.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) announced the decision in a joint Web conference today. NXTcomm will be an independent company equally owned by the two trade associations, overseen by a board of directors with equal representation from each.
"We are reuniting for a new tradeshow and we are both abandoning our respective tradeshows in 2007," TIA president Matt Flanigan tells Light Reading.
"NXTcomm will be about doing business: about advancing an industry of central importance to the modern information economy and showcasing what's next across the colliding worlds of information, communications and entertainment," USTelecom CEO Walter McCormick said in a statement. McCormick could not be reached for further comment after the Webcast Wednesday.
Thus ends the breakup that began after Supercomm 2004. The five-year contract between the TIA and USTA to run Supercomm was expiring, and the two groups decided they didn't want to continue pursuing a tradeshow together. (See TIA, USTA Split on Supercomm.)
Supercomm had its last hurrah in June 2005. Then, with neither side allowed to use the "Supercomm" name, the show split into the TIA's Globalcomm, which retained the Supercomm conference hall reservations, and USTelecom's TelecomNext in Las Vegas.
An early Light Reading poll had shown TelecomNext winning the popularity contest between the two. (See LR Poll: USTA Takes Show Lead.)
But marketing mavens quickly tired of having to split their budgets to support both shows. A Light Reading poll in April saw most respondents say they wouldn't plan on attending TelecomNext again, and 93 percent said they didn't expect to support both Globalcomm and TelecomNext in 2007. (See LR Poll: Tradeshows Battle for '07 Audience .)
(Disclosure: Light Reading and its parent, CMP Media LLC, have a business relationship with TIA and Globalcomm in 2006 -- see TIA, CMP Team on Globalcomm.)
Equipment vendors mostly complained about the marketing expense and time commitment of having to exhibit at, or even attend, two large shows a year instead of just one. Some vendors were talking revolution before Globalcomm 2006 was through.
In July, a draft letter was prepared notifying USTelecom that 14 companies -- including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Nortel Networks Ltd. -- wouldn't be buying booth space at TelecomNext. (See Gearheads: The Shows Must Not Go On and Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil.)
The letter was never sent, but after its contents were reported in Light Reading, USTelecom fired back, criticizing vendors for choosing TelecomNext as the show to, apparently, kill off. A USTelecom letter to the legal counsel of various equipment makers indirectly hinted that the move could run afoul of antitrust regulations. (See TelecomNext: McCormick Strikes Back.)
Asked if the associations were combining the shows once more because of pressure from the industry, Flanigan said: "I would say that this did factor into it; many of the manufacturers and equipment suppliers weren't happy that they had to attend two shows last year instead of just one." Some of the service providers and carriers also complained about attending two shows, Flanigan says.
But Flanigan says the two trade groups are getting back together for strategic reasons as well. "The industry is changing -- so many things are going to wireless now, as I'm sure you know, so telecommunications is wireless and video and music files and everything, so we just looked at how we could best serve the new telecom industry."
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, and Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading