For the past five out of seven years, CTIA-The Wireless Association has brought its CTIA Enterprise and Applications show, previously called CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment, to San Francisco.
But, after the city's Board of Supervisors recently approved the Cell Phone Right-to-Know ordinance that would label phones radio frequency emissions at point of sale, CTIA decided that it wouldn't bring the show back to the city after this fall.
"Rather than inform, the ordinance will potentially mislead consumers," said CTIA officials in a statement.
John Walls, CTIA's vice president of public affairs, said all cell phones sold in the U.S. fall under the Federal Communications Commission's 1.6 watt per kilogram radio frequency emission guidelines, so the labeling "is of little use to the consumer if they don't know what the value means."
As a result of the board of supervisors' decision, CTIA will hold one more show in San Francisco, and is looking for another locale beginning in 2011, he added.
"Certainly, this decision was made with our members' interests in mind first and foremost â€¦ it was not made in a vacuum in any way," Walls said.
Leonard Hoops, executive vice president and chief customer officer of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, said of CTIA leaving the city, "Obviously, that's not information we were excited about. We were very disappointed."
CTIA didn't have dates confirmed past this year's fall show, he added. But, part of living in a city like San Francisco that's a popular destination, as well as a "politically-charged one" sometimes means the bureau has to deal with decisions that impact the meetings and conventions business, Hoops said.
The CTIA fall event is the smaller of the two shows produced by the association, but with 15,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors every year, it brought $80 million in total direct spending to San Francisco during the time it was held there.
Walls said CTIA tried to talk to educate the board of supervisors on how misleading the labeling of cell phones would be to consumers. "We would like to have the board of supervisors to have acted in the best interest for its constituents, but they ignored science," he added. "We want to locate our show in an area that we think has a more conducive environment to success than San Francisco can offer."
Walls said there are several suitors for the association's 2011 fall show. "We think we have a lot to offer," he added. "We are extremely confident we will have a great location and continue to have a great show."
Hoops said he and his team haven't given up on luring the show back to San Francisco. "I personally don't see it as a forever kind of things, because things can change," he added. "CTIA is a good-sized show, and given their size and frequency, we consider then a valuable customer, and we don't want to lose them."