LR Poll: USTA Takes Show Lead
As of 5 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, 60 percent of our poll-takers said their companies will exhibit only at TelecomNEXT in 2006, while 40 percent said they will exhibit only at the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)'s GlobalComm 2006 show.
Light Readers have been weighing in on the issue in high numbers: The poll has drawn 516 responses in just three days.
Fifty-four percent of our readers speculate that the USTA’s TelecomNEXT will eventually win out, while only 36 percent feel that TIA’s GlobalComm will prevail.
Now a short disclaimer: Light Reading poll monkeys use sophisticated technology to make sure the "one PC, one vote" standard is adhered to. Still, there's no guaranteeing that some self-interested party won't organize some proxy voting campaign and muck up the results.
TIA, which represents equipment vendors, and USTA, which represents U.S. carriers, have for five years co-sponsored Supercomm. But the two couldn't see eye-to-eye over the future ownership and vision of the show and didn’t renew a contract to continue on as partners (see TIA, USTA Split on Supercomm).
Now a rivalry seemes to have developed between them, each one determined to throw the premiere mixer of the year for carriers and vendors.
And the stakes are considerable. Anyone who saw the show floor at Supercomm knows that exhibitors and sponsoring companies paid large chunks of marketing budget to look large there.
The USTA is already taking pains to differentiate its TelecomNEXT show. “This is not your parents’ communications industry,” USTA president Walter McCormick crows in a release. “We need a show that explores what’s next for our industry, our business, our partners, our customers and our information economy.”
TIA president Matt Flanigan tells Light Reading the falling out over Supercomm may have stemmed from the geographical focus of the show. Flanigan believes USTA, which represents U.S. carriers only, was unhappy with the international flavor TIA was trying to bring to the show. TIA member companies like Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) operate internationally and naturally want the show to attract a wider audience than just U.S. carriers, Flanigan explains.
TIA and USTA have begun to line up new partners as the battle for all those exhibitor and sponsorship dollars heats up. TIA has aligned with OSP Expo and Sensors Expo & Conference, while USTA has teamed up with another industry group, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS),
USTA has come out of the gate fast in promoting its TelecomNEXT show, while TIA has been somewhat less assertive. During Supercomm the TelecomNEXT brand was everywhere -- on shuttle buses, in the pages of show publications, on signs, and on at least one billboard. The GlobalComm brand was seen only once, as the sponsor of a coffee station in the lobby of Chicago’s InterContinental Hotel.
So will the carriers go to the vendors’ show, will the vendors visit the carriers' show, or will everybody go to both? If what they say is true about following the money, the USTA might end up winning out. Its service provider members, it points out, invest more than $36 billion in capex annually.
But who knows? The only real way to tell who’s winning the “Show Wars” is by watching the Light Reading polls (see disclaimer).
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading