Optical/IP Networks

Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil

What started as a united front of equipment vendors pushing for the United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) to put aside their differences and run a single industry trade show has become the story of a letter never sent.

On July 19, Light Reading reported that several large equipment vendors were ready to send USTelecom a letter threatening to pull booth space if the organization refused to merge its TelecomNext show with TIA's Globalcom, according to a draft copy of the letter addressed to Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom. (See Gearheads: The Shows Must Not Go On.)

"We will not be contracting to exhibit our equipment/services on the TelecomNext show floor," the draft letter stated. And the companies listed in the document included Nortel Networks Ltd. , Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), and several others that generally spend big at industry shows.

After Light Reading's story, and several rounds of discussions amongst the vendors involved, sources close to the situation say a single letter expressing one united view was never sent. Instead, each company was left to work out its differences with each association individually.

But even without a united front, that doesn't change the fact that several vendors aren't thrilled about seeing two shows compete for their marketing dollars in the wake of Supercomm's demise. (See Dueling Tradeshows.) "As far as ADC is concerned, we sincerely hope both organizations can negotiate in good faith to find a single show solution," says Steve Grady, VP of global marketing for ADC (Nasdaq: ADCT).

Grady's views were similar to several other vendors contacted by Light Reading for this story that declined to go on the record. Vendors say having more trade shows doesn't make much sense when their main concern is cutting down their "cost per qualified lead," meaning they want to spend fewer dollars to find potential customers.

"We're still reviewing what ADC's going to do with all the shows next year," Grady says. "In general, we're shifting our marketing spend to other vehicles that have a higher return than trade shows."

As for the show organizers, TIA president Matt Flanigan says he is ready to talk his former partner (TIA and USTelecom partnered on the Supercomm show before going their separate ways in 2006). "We're always interested in talking and doing what our members feel we should do," he says. "The manufacturers and suppliers are our members and they're they ones who pay for these shows." (See TIA's Flanigan: Globalcomm's Bigger.)

A USTelecom spokeswoman says the organization never received a letter from the vendors and said the organization isn't going to comment on "speculation" of the vendors' concerns about its show.

Meanwhile, both the TIA and USTelecom are pressing ahead with building buzz for their respective events. Last week, USTelecom released a list of speakers it has lined up for its 2007 show, which included Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA) president Tom Freston and NBC Universal CEO Bob Wright. Yesterday, the TIA announced updated attendance figures for Globalcomm 2006 and said that more than 200 companies have already reserved more than 145,000 net square feet of exhibit space for its next show.

Flanigan didn't hide from the fact that carrier attendees were "light in certain areas," but he said the TIA will "spend the marketing dollars necessary to convince carriers – domestic and international – that Globalcomm is the place to see the latest technology and the newest ways that equipment vendors and suppliers can help carriers make money."

USTelecom will hold its TelecomNext show March 18-21, 2007, in Las Vegas, at the Sands Expo and the Venetian. TIA will return its Globalcomm show to Chicago's McCormick Place June 18-21, 2007.

Disclosure: Light Reading and its parent, CMP, have a business relationship with TIA and Globalcomm. (See TIA, CMP Team on Globalcomm.)

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

trzwuip 12/5/2012 | 3:46:19 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil Both of these organizations are fools! One show or the other would likely eventually dominate, and one of the shows will eventually go belly up anyway due to lack of interest. You F&*Kers get your heads out of your asses and give your customers what they are asking for! One show!
shaggy 12/5/2012 | 3:46:18 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil Agreed. One more cycle to "enhance the contrast". It should become clear to both organizations what needs to be done, more so if the vendor community responds approriately, and vote with their wallets.

Scott Raynovich 12/5/2012 | 3:46:18 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil >Does anyone think that a single show is even >possible in 2007, given that both the TIA and >USTelecom are apparently contractually >obligated to their respective venues?

No. It would have to be fixed in 2008. If the vendors are serious and actually want something done, they need to decide where to spend or not spend money in 2007 to drive the point home.
DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:46:18 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil Does anyone think that a single show is even possible in 2007, given that both the TIA and USTelecom are apparently contractually obligated to their respective venues?

shaggy 12/5/2012 | 3:46:16 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil Lots of pissing, moaning and finger-pointing between the TIA and USTA. Each bames the other for mismanagement, one blames the other for "nearly running us broke"

As usual, it boils down to a buck...

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:46:16 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil
Because Walter McCormick has grand and glorious aspirations. Did you ever go to a USTA show say in 01? It was an IOC show. McCormick has turned the USTA into an RBOC lobbying machine. Please note, that the RBOCs said that they would not attend Globalcomm.

infojunkie 12/5/2012 | 3:46:16 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil If it was so simple, why did the 2 associations go their separate ways in the first place? Maybe LR can shed some light on this.

I understand it is the vendors that are paying, but eventually it is the service providers they are trying to attract to their booths. And maybe these guys (SPs) want their "own" show by "their" association, or whatever other reason they went with a separate event.
ozip 12/5/2012 | 3:46:12 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil In cable in the US we have.

NCTA - Spring
SCTE - Summer
Cablelabs Summer Conference - Next week
Cablelabs Winter Conference - Winter

These re just the ones that you have to exhibit at. The attendance ones are:

SCTE Emerging Tech -Winter
CTAM - Last Week

And then there are the SCTE regionals, which also have a yearly exhibit show, but to be fair, they charge $300 for a table.

NB. This is an incomplete list!!!!

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:46:01 AM
re: Vendors Table TelecomNext Turmoil People in the VOIP space are starting to feel this way, too, with VON Spring, VON Europe, VON Iowa, and all the Internet telephony shows.
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