COMPTEL PLUS Gits Along in Dallas

With a record number of exhibitors and attendees, you could say the COMPTEL PLUS Fall 2007 Convention & Expo in Dallas corralled one of the biggest crowds in years, roped in by an ever-better telecom business environment.

COMPTEL reported attendance of between 2,300 and 2,400 people, and the highest number of fall exhibitors in recent years 135 as compared to 120 a year ago.

The revival of the big booth again was evident AT&T Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and Switch and Data manned giant displays that greeted visitors entering the exhibit hall. Of course, you first had to get past the cowboy on stilts, and without tripping over his Texas-sized boots.


Not all the fun was to be had on the show floor, though. If you moseyed upstairs, you were one of the many people taking advantage of the GeoResults-sponsored Cyber Café. Or you might have checked out Cisco Systems Inc.s uber-cool TelePresence lounge, or met with companies ranging from Edison Carrier Solutions to TelePacific Communications, who wined and dined prospects in private rooms.

Overall, it looked like the time for singing those twangy telecom blues has come and gone. Opening night alone resembled the good old days, said Sherm Henderson, president and CEO of Lightyear Network Solutions and current COMPTEL board chairman. Business is coming back.

Exhibitors said the same.

It looks like things are growing again were coming out of the slump, said Rusty Daniels, a sales rep for Iowa Network Services.

GeoResults feels so good about the industrys reversal of fortune that this is the companys second time exhibiting (although this marks its fourth year as a COMPTEL sponsor).

The GeoResults’ booth

The show is very well-attended, said Ted Shields, president and CEO for GeoResults. Its nice to have everybody together.

In addition to making deals, COMPTEL members also elected a new board. Those officials were slated to name a chairman, two vice chairmen, treasure and executive committee on Oct. 9. Lightyears Henderson has served as COMPTELs chairman since 2004 and was among the nominees for that position.

Finally, the COMPTEL PLUS show was held the same week a high-profile AT&T forbearance petition was set to expire. It looked like the FCC might not have to make that approve-or-deny decision; however, if it turned out that AT&T couldnt cinch majority commissioner support, there was speculation the company would pull its request and re-file it, as Qwest did a couple of weeks ago.

AT&T is one of the companies asking to be freed from rules governing how it shares its broadband networks with competitors (and how they price those wholesale services). If AT&T as well as EMBARQ Corp., Frontier/Citizens Communications and Qwest gets that regulatory relief, it could mean bad news for competitors. At the same time, such a possibility provided even more impetus at COMPTEL for competitors to excuse the pun pardner with one another in hopes of bypassing Bell networks altogether.

COMPTEL made regulatory goings-on a top priority at the Fall 2007 show. Several sessions were planned for Tuesday and all of the final morning was scheduled for regulatory workshops.

The View from the show floor …


AT&T Inc.
Cisco Systems Inc.
Edison Carrier Solutions
Iowa Network Services
Lightyear Network Solutions
Qwest Communications International Inc.
Switch and Data
TelePacific Communications

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