4. Dan Mead, CEO, Verizon Wireless – Most Powerful People in Wireless

4. Dan Mead, CEO, Verizon Wireless – Most Powerful People in WirelessWhat makes him powerful: Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) CEO Dan Mead has been on the job for a little more than a year, but so far he has helped push Verizon to the forefront of LTE players around the world and also launched Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone on Verizon's CDMA network. Though he has mainly been a strong steward for policies and business plans put in place by former Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam (now the head of Verizon Communications), Mead has also helped press Verizon's advantages. Additionally, since he served as Verizon Wireless COO before assuming the top spot, he also had a hand in crafting the plans he is now executing.

Perhaps Mead's most challenging task is the nationwide launch of Verizon's LTE network, which occurred in December 2010. Mead and Verizon headlined the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by announcing 10 LTE devices, including four LTE smartphones. Shortly after, Mead presided over a highly-anticipated event in New York to reveal Verizon's plans to launch a CDMA version of Apple's iPhone 4.  

The biggest black eye for Mead so far has been Verizon's nationwide LTE outage in April, which came just five months after the network launched and lasted for 24 hours. Verizon initially was cagey about the exact cause of the outage but later admitted that it was a signaling problem.

In August Mead formally opened Verizon's LTE Application Innovation Center in San Francisco, promising to work with application developers to create new apps specifically optimized for the company's LTE network.

Mead and his team announced this fall that they would reach the company's 2011 target of covering 185 million POPs with LTE before year-end. Mead also has pushed Verizon to keep launching LTE devices to match the company's growing footprint. Mead recently said the company will have 20 LTE devices in its lineup by year-end. Verizon is clearly an LTE powerhouse and Mead has helped fine-tune the company's LTE leadership. --Phil

4. Dan Mead, CEO, Verizon Wireless – Most Powerful People in Wireless