CTIA, a major wireless technology industry association, has announced it will shut down its two largest events and launch a single “super mobile” show in the fall of 2014.
The group’s flagship event, CTIA Wireless (May 21-23, Las Vegas), along with a smaller fall show MobileCON (Oct. 16-18, San Jose, Calif.), will be folded after 2013. The new three-day event, branded CTIA, will begin Sept. 9, 2014 at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Conflicts with International CES (Jan. 8-11, Las Vegas) and Mobile World Congress (Feb. 25-28, Barcelona, Spain) have been widely posited as reasons for the decision, and Robert Mesirow, vice president and show director for CTIA, admits their presence played a role.
“There’s not at tremendous amount of overlap, in terms of the attendance, but there’s obviously some overlap with the exhibitors in both of those events,” he says. “The truth of it is, it’s a very crowded first half of the year. What we heard, loud and clear, was there was no gravitational force in that second half of the year that brings everything together.”
Mesirow believes the new show dates in September not only fill a void that’s been there since the closing of former industry giant COMDEX—traditionally run in November, until it shut down in 2003—but also turns CTIA into a consumer product showcase for the upcoming holiday season.
“I know that a lot of people have talked about that space and that time on the calendar for a long time,” he says. “With all the changes the industry has been going through, we’ve lost a lot of the cadence that used to be there in terms of product announcement cycles, buying cycles. It seems with the pace of change that exists now, you really have to latch on to something. The one thing that we know isn’t going to change, is Christmas.”
Mesirow also indicated that focus of the event would change slightly to incorporate new verticals such as content media advertising and the growing m-to-m market. New partners—which Mesirow declined to specify, but says will be announced as early as this week—will be brought on for a total of six new segments.
CTIA Wireless drew 40,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans last year, while MobileCON brought 5,000 industry professionals and 1,800 exhibitors to the San Diego Convention Center in 2012.