CTIA Show Makes Changes, Expects Growth
By Joseph Palenchar On Apr 23 2012 - 3:01am
NEW ORLEANS –
Association expects a lift in attendance
at next month’s CTIA Wireless 2012
because of later show dates and a return
to the Crescent City, where the convention will
boast its largest retailer-focused section to date.
Dealers will also find larger booths from Chinese
vendors and no booths at all from such major past
exhibitors as Nokia and RIM, both of which are struggling
with declining market share. Nokia will host a
meeting room, and RIM is focused on staging its own
annual event, BlackBerry World, which will be held a
week before the CTIA convention.
Handset vendors appearing at the show will continue
to focus on themes raised at International CES
and the Mobile World Congress, including smartphones
with bigger screens and thinner chassis,
quad-core processors in handsets and
tablets, nearfield communications (NFC),
a growing selection of phones with Android
4.0, and lots of 4G LTE phones as
all four national U.S. carriers and many
regional ones add the technology to their networks.
In addition, Nokia is expected to continue building
buzz around its Lumia handsets and the Windows
Phone OS, and Sprint could reveal more about its 4G
transition this year from WiMAX to LTE. Attendees
will also find water-resistant smartphones that hold
up after falling in a toilet.
For its part, Samsung will likely bring its next Galaxy
series smartphones to the show, having planned
a May 3 unveiling in London a few days before the
May 8-10 CTIA event.
Carriers are also likely to announce commitments to some of the products unveiled at CES and MWC,
including Huawei’s flagship smartphone, the Ascend
P1, with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 4.3-inch super
AMOLED 960 by 540 touchscreen, 8-megapixel rearfacing
camera with 1080p video capture, Dolby Mobile
3.0+5.1 surround and MHL-HDMI connection.
Availability dates for HTC’s new One-series smartphones
could also be announced.
The product introductions will come at a time when
North American handset-shipment growth appears to be
slowing or actually declining from year-ago levels, one
analyst said. Although the analyst is still compiling statistics,
“volumes seem to have slowed quite a bit,” he said.
“The market is maturing, and moving forward, growth
might just come in spurts around newdevice
releases.” Another factor is
carriers’ growing penchant to reduce
incentives to trade up phones before a
contract expires. “Carriers’ profitability
has been impacted by historically generous
subsidies, and they are looking
for ways to protect margins while remaining
competitive,” the analyst said.
New handsets and tablets won’t be
the only products targeted to retailers
at the show. Products that retailers will
buy but won’t sell to consumers will
include wireless POS solutions and
fleet-management solutions, said Rob
Mesirow, CTIA’s show director and operations
Those solutions will be part of an expanded Retail
Zone that has grown to include 247 exhibitors in 62,850
square feet, up from last year’s 201 exhibitors and
40,550 square feet.
Overall show attendance is also poised for gains over
2011’s 40,000 and 2010’s 39,000, Mesirow said. The
total number of exhibitors will be around 1,000, as in recent
About 21 percent of attendees will be retailers and
dealers as in years’ past, he noted.
Attendance levels are poised to grow this year in large
part because the show dates were pushed back to May
from their traditional March dates, Mesirow said. “We’ll
see if it pays off, but early indications are that it has,”
he said. The show’s new timing “works out better for
product announcements, particularly in the U.S.,” he explained.
Eighty percent of attendees are from the U.S.
The new show dates are more attuned to back-toschool
and fourth-quarter retail cycles, Mesirow previously
The first quarter is also crowded with trade shows,
including CES and MWC, he noted.
A return to New Orleans for the first time since 2005 is
also playing a role in attracting attendees, Mesirow said.
CTIA will evaluate the 2012 show’s demographics and
the performance of the New Orleans infrastructure in determining
whether the show will return to New Orleans after
2013. For 2013, the show moves back to Las Vegas.
“People are really eager to get back to New Orleans,”
CTIA had chosen to leave New Orleans before the
2005 flood because there were fewer hotels and restaurants
than there are now, fewer
flights into and out of the city than now,
and shortages of cabs when the show
closed for the day, the association previously
said. The city has also made
improvements to the convention center
A venue change isn’t the only change
in store for attendees. The association
is changing its show schedule to offer
an afternoon keynote session for the
first time. At the 4:40 p.m. to 6 p.m.
event on the first day of the show, the
CEOs of the four national carriers will
appear at a roundtable moderated by
“Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.
On the morning of the first day, keynotes
will be given by Federal Communications Commission
Chairman Julius Genachowski, MasterCard
president Gary Flood, Pandora president/CEO Joe Kennedy
and CTIA chairman Patrick Riordan.
Keynotes on the morning of the second day will be
delivered by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Mozilla CEO Gary
Kovacs, Visa president John Partridge and Electronic
Arts CEO John Riccitiello.
The third-day keynoter will be in the afternoon from 2
p.m. to 3 p.m. That person is former President Bill Clinton.
CE and handset suppliers and distributors scheduled
to exhibit include Belkin, Brightpoint, Brightstar, Cobra,
Coby, Dell, Dolby, DTS, HTC, Huawei, Jabra, Kyocera,
LG, Nokia, Novatel, Otterbox, Parrot, PCD, Polaroid,
Haier Telecom, San Disk, Sharp, Sierra Wireless, Skullcandy,
Wi-Ex, Wilson Electronics and ZTE. Carriers Tmobile,
AT&T, Verizon and Sprint will also exhibit.