Joining forces in an industry in transformation, two telecom trade groups – the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) – said they have signed a cooperative “friendship agreement.”

Formed in April 1988 from the merger of the United States Telecommunications Suppliers Association and the Information and Telecommunications Technologies Group, part of the Electronic Industries Alliance, TIA comprises 500 members that are primarily equipment manufacturers, vendord and suppliers. OPASTCO represents more than 530 small, rural operators in the United States and Canada.

The two organizations will work together to put on industry events, promote technology standards and lobby Congress and the White House.

“Through this joint effort with TIA, OPASTCO plans to make our meetings even more vibrant and compelling,” said OPASTCO President John N. Rose. “This is a unique opportunity to further enhance the value of our events, including our convention and trade show, for our carrier members.”

The TIA-OPASTCO agreement follows the decision to cancel the 2010 SUPERCOMM conference and trade show, originally scheduled for October in Chicago. America’s largest telecom conference for nearly two decades, jointly owned by the TIA and the United States Telecom Association (USTelecom), SUPERCOMM was put on by the two organizations until 2006 when they split it into two shows: GLOBALCOMM (TIA) and TelecomNEXT (USTA). The following year those expos recombined into NXTComm. Last fall the organizations restored the original SUPERCOMM brand, moving the show back from its traditional spring timeframe to October. Held in Chicago, the 2009 show was sparsely attended compared to previous year’s shows.

The economic downturn and turmoil in the telecommunications industry have exacted a toll on trade shows in the sector.

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