I feel compelled to start this post by pointing out today’s date, April 12th. More specifically, it’s not April 1st. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and OPASTCO have announced a strategic cooperative agreement that “sets forth an arrangement for the organizations to work together to support networking events, promote technology solutions and consider regulatory issues of common importance.” The two organizations go on to call the move a ‘friendship agreement.’ Interesting characterization. It’s definitely not a merger, so no proclamations of a newly merged ‘TOPASTCO’ here.

From OPASTCO’s statements on the move, it appears to be driven primarily by events. “This is a unique opportunity to further enhance the value of our events, including our convention and trade show, for our carrier members. This in turn augments the experience for our exhibitors and sponsors. It’s a classic ‘win-win’ that will make our meetings even more productive for all participants,” said OPASTCO president John Rose. The press release expands these thoughts a little to say “OPASTCO and TIA will share specific member benefits of interest to its respective memberships.”

TIA was a half partner with USTelecom (formerly USTA) on the now dead Supercomm, which was once the main tradeshow for the telecom industry. Both TIA and USTelecom pulled the plug on Supercomm earlier this year, creating a pretty serious revenue dent in TIA’s budget. This move appears to be one strategy for them to fill that hole, although no event details were revealed. Makes you wonder what USTelecom will do (by themselves or with a partner?), considering tradeshows and events are major revenue sources for associations.

The industry represented by both these organizations has seen its fair share of consolidation. It’s not surprising to see these types of joint efforts among the associations that represent them. It won’t be surprising to see more of this type of activity.

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