From the CEOs of the largest wireless operators to the heads of government agencies, the movers and shakers that make up the 2012 FierceWireless 25 Most Powerful People in the U.S. Wireless industry are the people that are shaping the industry. They are the power brokers that control the wireless networks we use, the smartphones we buy and even the apps we download.
When we compiled the 2012 list of the 25 Most Powerful People in the U.S. Wireless Industry, we looked for individuals who we believe have a unique mix of influence, business savvy, leadership and technical expertise.
Some selections may surprise you. For the first time, we have a CTO on our list – Neville Ray – the "rock star" CTO of T-Mobile USA who is responsible for the company's network transformation that includes the integration of MetroPCS' network once that acquisition is approved. Another newcomer is the elusive F.J. Pollak, the president and CEO of Tracfone Wireless, an MVNO that boasts more than 21.6 million subscribers. Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japan's Softbank also made the list thanks to his company's recent $20.1 billion investment in Sprint.
Perhaps just as interesting as the newcomers to the list are those that were removed from the list—proving once again that power can be fleeting. Sanjiv Ahuja, former chairman and CEO of LightSquared is no longer on the list. He resigned from his position in February as his company faced increasing regulatory hurdles to launching its network. Rhen Zhengfei, the founder, chairman and CEO of Huawei is no longer on the list after the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that recommended that the U.S. government and U.S. companies avoid using equipment from Huawei because it posed a security threat and potentially has ties to the Chinese military Huawei has denied those claims and so has the Chinese government. To see the entire 2011 Most Powerful People in the U.S. Wireless Industry, click here.
This list is a compilation of who we think are the innovators and leaders in the U.S. wireless industry. We realize that wireless is a global business, and many of our candidates oversee international companies, but we selected people based upon their influence here in the United States.
You may not agree with all our picks but I can assure you that this list was not compiled lightly. The Fierce editors scrutinized every person we selected to make sure we could justify their position. I encourage you to respond to our poll question here and weigh in with your pick for who should be the most powerful person in the U.S. wireless industry. You can also write me or comment below and let me know if you disagree with our picks or think we overlooked someone.
Click the headshots below to learn more about each of our winners.