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ITU show reflects changing telecom landscape

Posted: 13 Oct 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:telecom world 2003? int. telecommunication union? itu? broadband? networking?

Telecom World 2003 opened October 11, to an unfamiliar landscape. Since the Int. Telecommunication Union's (ITU) exhibitions started in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1971, every quadrennial event was bigger, brasher, more bullish and harder to navigate than the one before, reflecting enormous industry growth.

This year's show does exactly that - it mirrors the dramatic changes in the sector since the heady days of October 1999. Making matters worse, the ITU has been forced recently to deny as strongly as it can allegations of financial mismanagement of the organization's budget, and misgivings about the management style of its secretary general, Yoshio Utsumi.

This year, there are no multitiered, multimillion dollar booths covering acres. Despite fears earlier this year, 924 companies have signed up, down from the nearly 1150 in 1999 but not as bad as some predicted.

Still, industry stalwarts such as Alcatel, Lucent Technologies, Siemens, Nokia, Ericsson, IBM, and Motorola are absent from the show floor, but not forgotten. Most are inviting customers to meetings off site at some of Geneva's grand hotels. All cite difficult market conditions and the huge expense of participating in the event for what they say is little return.

ITU is nevertheless putting a positive spin on the event. "One in two exhibitors this year is showing their wares or presence for the first time at a Telecom World event, indicating how the sector is reshaping itself," a spokesman told

"We are also seeing a large wave of highly successful, innovative young companies," he added.

Speakers include executives from some of the biggest players in telecommunications, including Bill Gates of Microsoft, John Chambers of Cisco, Carly Fiorina of HP, Keiji Tachikawa of NTT DoCoMO, Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm, Patricia Russo of Lucent, and Arun Sarin of Vodafone.

Nearly 40 percent of the exhibitors are from the networking business, followed by mobile/wireless (26 percent) and 25 percent from the IP and broadband sectors.

- John Walko

EE Times

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