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Managing Editor


Jun 25, 20042 mins
Application Performance ManagementTelecommunications Industry

Supercomm reflects recovering industry

Supercomm, the telecom industry’s biggest party, kicked off this week at its new Chicago digs with upbeat news.

Last year, things started looking better. . . .this year, they are better.

Supercomm, the telecom industry’s biggest party, kicked off this week at its new Chicago digs with upbeat news: Paid attendance, exhibitor count and square footage of exhibition space are all up from last year, show officials report. This is an indication that a market recovery is in full swing.

Organizers expected 30,000 attendees – 20% more than last year, Supercomm’s swan song in Atlanta after six years. There were 100 more exhibitors at this year’s show, 600 total; and 300,000 square feet of exhibition space, 22,000 more than 2003.

That’s because carriers are picking up and spending again on equipment to offer new services to enterprises while decreasing their own operating expenses.

North American telecom service providers’ overall capital spending experienced a year-over-year increase in the first quarter of 2004, the first in nearly three years, according to research firm RHK. Worldwide, service provider capital expenditures will remain roughly stable through the next five years, the firm found.

“This is a positive development for the industry, which has seen significant declines in spending in recent years,” RHK said. Global capital spending declined 11% in 2003, to $214 billion, following a nearly 30% decline the year before.

North American capital expenditures also are stabilizing, according to Infonetics Research. Carriers will spend $47.4 billion this year, which is down 2% from 2003. RHK says North American capital spending rose 12% in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter of 2003.

The hottest area of investment is in equipment for wireless infrastructure and services, both firms found. In North America, capital spending for wireless rose 33% in the first quarter as wireless subscriber numbers increased. Wireline spending declined slightly in the first quarter.

That’s not to say wireline is in a slump. Many wireline RFPs are on the street – such as AT&T’s multi-service edge, SBC’s optical add/drop multiplexer and switch, and Verizon’s ATM/multiservice core projects.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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