AT&T’s Marachel Knight

Marachel Knight is a FierceWireless Rising Star. (Image: AT&T, Ulza/iStock)

Mobility is the goal for Marachel Knight, AT&T’s senior VP for wireless engineering, construction and operations. While Verizon is starting with 5G fixed wireless, AT&T is targeting mobile 5G this year, and Knight is leading the charge.

“From a launch perspective, it’s standards and mobile for us,” said Knight. “I am excited about getting mobile standards-based 5G into customers’ hands. It was good to see the standards approved, but to see them come to life is one I’ll go celebrate for sure.”

Mobility has also been a theme of Knight’s 23-year career at AT&T. She’s lived in multiple cities and has overseen the construction of new networks in 30 markets. For the past 19 months she’s called Dallas home, and since March 2017 she’s had overall responsibility for the architecture and design of AT&T’s wireless network, wireline access, mobility services, and mobile device technology. In addition to all that, it is Knight’s job to help decide what AT&T’s network will look like in the future.

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“The thing I am keeping my eye on is what’s next beyond 2018 and how quickly we want to go there,” she said. She said one of the goals for AT&T will be the smarter use of network data. “How do we use data to make better decisions, make them fast and, frankly, let the network take care of itself?”

Knight’s favorite memories at AT&T are of the times her teams completed challenging projects, like designing and deploying one of the first distributed antenna systems in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Knight said she loves seeing the team’s reaction when a project comes to life. It’s an experience she is likely to have several times in the months ahead, as AT&T lights up mobile 5G networks in cities around the U.S.

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AT&T’s Marachel Knight