Stephen Bye is president of regional wireless operator C Spire, where he’s leading the company’s wireless unit as well as the C Spire Business Solutions, C Spire Home and C Spire Cloud Solutions subsidiaries. Bye reports to longtime C Spire chief Hu Meena, who is the company’s chairman and CEO.
Bye has taken a decidedly circuitous route to his current position. After working at BellSouth, AT&T and elsewhere, Bye rose to prominence in 2006 as the head of wireless for cable company Cox, where he spent roughly four years working to build out the operator’s wireless network. Cox ultimately decided to scrap that network as well as its wireless ambitions, an action that sent Bye to Sprint, where he worked as the company’s CTO from 2011 to 2015—when Bye left Sprint for his first stint at C Spire.
C Spire’s Hu Meena said in 2015 that Bye would be a great "cultural fit" for the Tier 2 operator as its CTO, and Bye remained in that position for almost a year. However, last year Bye made a surprise shift to Rivada to help that company in its bid to sell wireless technology to public safety outlets, and to help Rivada bid on FirstNet’s contract to build a nationwide network for public safety. However, shortly before Rivada lost the FirstNet contract to AT&T, Bye left his CTO position at Rivada and returned to C Spire as the company’s president, where he now oversees a range of businesses including C Spire’s estimated 1 million wireless customers.
And despite the fact that C Spire stands as one of the country’s few remaining regional wireless service providers, the operator continues to push the envelope in terms of wireless technologies. C Spire recently announced it had rolled out carrier aggregation using 2.5 GHz spectrum in 40 markets, which it said will enable users to access peak download speeds of 100 Mbps—up from typical speeds between 5 Mbps and 12 Mbps. And that’s not all: C Spire has been testing 5G network technology, putting the small regional operator alongside market heavyweights like AT&T and Verizon.
As president of C Spire, Bye continues to command a leading view of the wireless industry, and he will likely play a significant role in when and how C Spire enters the 5G future.