Meet the top 9 executives and regulators who are disrupting the telecom market

Longtime executives in the telecom industry have seen their fair share of disruption. Whether they were paging executives watching Craig McCaw cobble together some of the first cellular networks, or they were in the mobile phone business watching Steve Jobs unveil the first iPhone, disruption sits at the center of progress in telecom.

Indeed, disruption is largely why wired and wireless telecom networks in just a few short decades have moved from Kbps to Mbps to Gbps to – in some cases – Tbps measurements, all while devices have gotten smaller, more powerful and more portable.

So the obvious question now is: Where should today's telecom executives look for disruption? Which companies, leaders and regulators are poised to blaze the way into the next phase of telecom?

Fierce has assembled this list of disruptors in the telecom market with an eye toward answering that question. These are the executives we believe are looking toward the next big thing, rather than the ones trying to protect their existing businesses from market change.

Our selections also span the gamut: From AT&T's John Donovan, who is leading a massive overhaul of a leading carrier's network from the inside; to Sigfox's Ludovic Le Moan, who is working to undercut existing IoT network providers with a simpler, cheaper solution from a startup; to the FCC's Tom Wheeler, a longtime lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries who is now on the other side of the fence, and is using his position to push a wide range of potentially disruptive initiatives.

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. Like McCaw and Jobs, disruptors are clearest only in hindsight. This list represents our best, educated guesses about where the market is headed, based on the decades our editorial team has spent covering the telecom industry.

So, if we've missed anyone, please let us know! –Mike | @mikeddano

  • Charlie Ergen - Dish Network - Wireless/Pay-TV - Top Telecom Disrupters

  • John Legere - T-Mobile - Wireless – Top Telecom Disrupters

  • John Donovan - AT&T – Networks – Top Telecom Disrupters

  • Patrick Drahi – Altice USA – Cable/Broadband - Top Telecom Disrupters

  • Chet Kanojia – Starry/Aereo – Wireless/Cable – Top Telecom Disrupters

  • Ludovic Le Moan – Sigfox – IoT – Top Telecom Disrupters

  • Craig Barratt - Google – Internet Access - Top Telecom Disrupters

  • Jay Parikh – Facebook – Network Design – Top Telecom Disrupters

  • Tom Wheeler – FCC – Wireless/Cable/Spectrum – Top Telecom Disrupters

Meet the top 9 executives and regulators who are disrupting the telecom market