The Competitive Carriers Association is once again gearing up for its spring Mobile Carriers Show, and this year CEO Steven Berry said politics and infrastructure will be center stage.
Though Berry said politics is always a part of the show regardless of the administration, he noted the fast-shifting sands on Capitol Hill are of particular interest this year with two open seats and a new chairman at the FCC and a president with a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tie policy decisions directly to impact on business solutions, but we’ve already had three good examples of that already,” Berry said, pointing to the FCC’s decisions on Mobility Fund Phase II and broadband reporting requirements, and Chairman Pai’s stated goal of streamlining small cell siting. “The infrastructure issue is front and center a political issue at the federal, state, and local level.”
Berry said future wireless initiatives like software-defined networking and network function virtualization won’t be able to get off the ground if the network coverage isn’t there in the first place. And that, he said, will require government officials to lend a hand in smoothing out cell siting issues to streamline densification efforts.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but we hope to start the discussion in a very vigorous fashion here at this show,” Berry said.
That infrastructure discussion will, of course, also include spectrum, covering what’s coming up in 5G and how to utilize existing assets as well as broadcaster repacking following the close of the FCC’s incentive auction later this month.
Infrastructure will also be getting attention from two top-tier guest speakers, including FirstNet CEO Mike Poth and Ericsson North America Head Rima Qureshi. Since the courts recently decided a lawsuit from Rivada Mercury that was holding up FirstNet’s contract award, Berry said he’s hoping Poth will be able to speak to first concepts and ideas around the FirstNet build, including how small and regional carriers fit into that plan. Qureshi, he said, will be able to speak to Ericsson’s focus on rural deployment scenarios that might be of interest to CCA members. Cisco’s SVP of Service Provider Video Software and Solutions Conrad Clemson will also be at the show.
And those are just some of the headliners – panels will also include speakers from Dish, C Spire, Nokia, Sprint, Huawei, and T-Mobile. Speaking of, don’t miss the panel on “Maximizing Spectrum Efficiency for the Evolution to 5G” that Wireless Week will be moderating on Thursday, April 6 at 2:15 p.m.
But it’s these discussions about the intersection between politics and carrier issues Berry said help CCA fulfill its goals of advocacy and education. CCA also has a third goal – networking – and there will also be plenty of time for that, Berry indicated.
The Mobile Carriers Show is set to host a lighter lineup of events, including an annual golf tournament and clinic (that latter being for less avid golfers who want to learn), a game night complete with prizes, and an exhibit hall happy hour.
CCA’s Mobile Carriers Show will be held April 5-7 in Las Vegas.