As we head into the second year of online trade shows, Zoom-based networking and virtual happy hours based on the contents of our own liquor cabinets, the Competitive Carriers Association is looking to engage online conference-goers to its Mobile Carriers Show with both content and some competition.

CCA’s Mobile Carriers Show was cancelled last year, and its upcoming virtual version on March 30-31 includes a raffle of multiple prizes up to $1,000 in cash.

“We have tons of things to talk about, and we have a phenomenal lineup of speakers,” said Steve Berry, highlighting policy makers including Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the ranking member on the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Doyle, who heads up the telecom subcommittee; and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr in particular. More than a dozen of CCA’s carrier members are speaking on various panels, Berry added.

To promote interactions between individuals who are attending the conference, “we’re going to do something a little different this time. In the spirit of the competitiveness of CCA, we’re going to have an opportunity for people to win money,” Berry said, explaining that attendees earn points by attending sessions and keynotes, visiting exhibitor booths and interacting with the exhibitors, and asking questions during sessions. “The idea is, let’s mix it up a little,” he said. “I know we can’t shake hands and be there in person, which we will miss. … We’re trying to do the best we can and learn from our last virtual show, how we can improve the experience for everyone joining us.”

Berry said that last year’s annual convention, which was CCA’s first virtual show, had the largest number of people ever to attend, and that this year’s Mobile Carriers Show show is on track to have a repeat of those high numbers. “We’re going to hit all the policy issues … all the issues that are near and dear to the wireless carriers’ heart right now,” Berry said, including 5G, Open RAN and lessons learned from the impacts of the pandemic, including around customer service and marketing.

“Covid really highlighted the need for connectivity, and I think it demonstrated that wireless has a great capacity to connect people in a very timely way,” Berry said. In a video interview with RCR Wireless News, Berry gave highlights on policy issues that will be discussed at the upcoming virtual show, including broadband funding and broadband maps, Open RAN implementation and more.

Watch the full interview below:

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