Matt Carter, president, Boost Mobile division at Sprint Nextel
What makes him powerful: Carter moved to the Boost Mobile division in 2008 after being Sprint's senior vice president of base management, where he oversaw the marketing to Sprint's customer base. Carter clearly has astute marketing instincts, which he is putting to good use in his role at Boost.
In January, Boost Mobile turned the prepaid, flat-rate segment of the wireless industry on its head by launching a $50 per month unlimited voice and data plan on the carrier's iDEN network--an action that prompted a number of imitators.
Carter claims it wasn't Boost's intention to start a price war, but instead an opportunity to get customers to rethink their perception of prepaid wireless. Nevertheless, the move has sparked competitors to revamp their unlimited rate plans and new entrants to jump into the game. And the popularity of the offering at Boost prompted Sprint to open 50 more Boost retail outlets this year.
Perhaps most importantly, Boost's $50 rate plan has helped revitalize an ailing Sprint; the Boost plan was one of a few bright spots for Sprint in the first half of the year. In first quarter, Sprint added 764,000 net new iDEN customers and in second quarter the company picked up 938,000 prepaid iDEN customers.
And the action keeps on coming: In July Sprint announced that it would purchase MVNO Virgin Mobile USA (which uses Sprint's CDMA network for service) and would merge it with Boost to create a prepaid powerhouse. Both brands will co-exist and Carter will report to former Virgin Mobile CEO Dan Schulman when the deal closes later this year or in early 2010. And in a signal of the continued importance of Boost, Sprint said it plans to continue with the Boost Mobile brand name. --Sue