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CTIA New Show Strategy Jostles Entire Wireless Industry


Washington, DC – A new “super show” for the cell phone and mobile communications industry will be launched in 2014 by CTIA, The Wireless Communications Industry. The association announced it would merge its annual Spring CTIA Wireless show (which spans about 300,00 net square feet) and its smaller Fall MobileCONinto a single exhibition beginning in September 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Coined CTIA 2014, Super Mobility Week, the show will include a partnership with a major European show taking place at the same time, but creates a major conflict with a smaller competing event.

CTIA says combining shows will also make it easier on exhibitors, who can budget for one event instead of two. But CTIA is not operating in a vacuum, and the change of dates put it squarely in conflict with two other wireless trade shows: The huge IFA electronics show in Germany and the cozier Competitive Carriers Association(CCAAnnual Convention, which is scheduled for the same dates at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Show organizers said the shift for 2014 was in response to rapid changes taking place within the wireless industry that require trade shows to become more horizontal. “There is a need to have a show that centers on the entire global mobile ecosystem in a way that hasn’t existed among current shows,” said Rob Mesirow, vice president of operations and show director for the CTIA. “The mobile revolution is positively affecting nearly every industry.”

The CTIA has been increasingly overshadowed by the International Consumer Electronics Show  held in Las Vegas each January, and the Mobile World Congress held in February in Barcelona.  By switching to Fall show dates, CTIA avoids the afterglow of both events and is better positioned as a launching pad for new products for the holiday shopping season.

The combined show will draw a range of participants, including the gamut of device and application developers, service carriers and retailers.

Mitigating Date Conflicts

CTIA solved the European issue with an agreement to create what was billed as the first “borderless” trade show. Details are still being worked out, but the plan announced January 8 basically is a wirelessly connected co-location between IFA, which takes place September 5-10 at the Messe Berlin Fairgrounds and CTIA on September 9-11. “The partnership reflects today’s borderless and diverse wireless ecosystem, across time zones, industries and audiences,” said Mesirow.

No such agreement existed in January between CTIA and the CCA, which has its 2014 annual exhibition set in contractual stone for September 9-12.

The CTIA announcement it was moving its dates was a stunner for the CCA, which represents largely budget and regional cell phone companies. Association executives told the wireless trade media they suspected the large companies that are key members of the CTIA were making a power play against their smaller rivals.

But the door to some type of an accommodation, like the one with IFA, appeared to remain open, if only slightly, between the two downtown Washington associations. Steven Berry, president and CEO of the CCA, told Trade Show Executive, “It is very disappointing that CTIA has chosen to move its 2014 trade show to the exact same dates and location of CCA’s 2014 Annual Convention. CCA’s 2014 convention dates have been confirmed and public for two years, and we are working with CTIA to ensure another successful CCA event focused on the business and policy issues most important to competitive carriers.”

For now, CTIA 2013 will take place as scheduled May 21-23 at the Sands Expo Convention Center. MobileCON 2013 will be held October 9-11 in San Jose, a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley.

Reach Rob Mesirow at (202) 785-0081 or; Steven Berry at (800) 722-1872 or

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