“I remember 1999, there were five-storey booths here and every hall was packed”, Egypt’s communications minister Tarek Kamel complains.
He was speaking at the sidelines of ITU Telecom World, a global conference sponsored by the United Nations’ information and communications agency.
This year the meeting halls are filled with just enough people to not seem empty. But there’s no need to elbow your way through throngs of people eyeballing what’s hot and new in the telecoms world.
ITU 2009 has the feeling of a Sunday afternoon, people are out and about conversing pleasantly with one another but there’s no rush.
Bill Huang, China Mobile research institute chief, says: “Its the quietest ITU show I have ever been to.” Why? He guesses the financial crisis is to blame.