Telecom sector tiptoes tactfully around improved earnings news

NEW YORK: Communications officers of teleconferencing and cellular

communications companies, two industries posting overall wins despite

the general stock market dips following the events of September 11, are

promoting their services in very different ways.

Teleconferencers say they are eager to position their services as a way

for companies to get back to business while not wanting to force

employees to fly.

"We are getting more questions than ever about how our technology can be

used to communicate without people having to get on planes," said Rob

Adler, president of teleconferencing provider CCBN.

The phenomenon is not just confined to the US. The world's leading

teleconferencing company, Paris-based Genesys, has reported a 40% surge

in demand for its services since the September 11 attacks. The increased

demand parallels the 30-50% increase the company tracked during the Gulf

War ten years ago.

Sally Jewett, president of On the Scene Productions, said she is telling

her customers that during difficult times, she knows her service is of


"We're able to approach it in a very positive way because it is a good

solution right now," Jewett said.

Cellular phone communications professionals, on the other hand, are less

eager to promote their products at the moment.

Days after the markets reopened, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange's

wireless telecommunications index was up 1.27% to 81.20, and industry

analysts say they expect the industry to add more than 5.2 million

subscribers in the third quarter, up more than 6.6% from last year.

Audrey Schaefer, director of corporate communications for Nextel,

mirrored her industry counterparts by being unwilling to discuss much

good news.

"In terms of sales," she said, "in all honesty, it's too soon to

determine what the impact will be. That's what we're telling the


Dan Wilinky, director of media relations and financial communications

for Sprint PCS, had another way to not discuss stock movement or sales:

"We've been asked the question, 'Has this tragedy bumped your sales at

all?' Unfortunately, due to financial disclosure reasons, we cannot

offer comment on sales activity or store traffic. Our earnings report

comes out October 16. So we shall see then how our business was


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