We have a winner: Rakuten Mobile’s Tareq Amin is the most powerful person in wireless technology for 2019, at least according to the readers of FierceWireless. Amin amassed 104,148 votes to edge out American Tower’s James Taiclet with 91,346 votes in the final round.
Over the course of the past week, the FierceWireless “powerful people” tournament pitted 26 of the top wireless executives/super technologists against each other in five rounds of matchups.
A couple of newer names in the wireless space—Mavenir and Parallel Wireless—jumped into the competition whole heartedly, reflective of how they’re making a name for themselves in the real world of wireless competition.
But in the end, it came down to Rakuten Mobile’s Amin, representing a company that’s building a wireless network in an entirely new way, versus American Tower’s Taiclet, representing a tower company that’s making 5G a reality by deploying the new radio equipment. It was a tight race, but the readers have spoken.
Amin joins an exclusive group of wireless executives who have won the FierceWireless “powerful people” vote. Sprint’s Michel Combes won the contest in 2018; OneWeb’s Greg Wyler won in 2017; and T-Mobile’s John Legere won in 2016.
Congratulations to Rakuten Mobile’s Tareq Amin and all of this year’s “powerful people” challengers. And my personal thanks to all of you who voted. — Linda | @lindahardesty
These were all the candidates in this tournament:
Kyle Malady leads Verizon’s Global Network & Technology organization.
Hans Vestberg is CEO of Verizon, where he oversees the nation’s largest wireless network operator in terms of customers.
Jeff McElfresh is the CEO of AT&T’s largest division, the AT&T Communications unit.
Scott Mair serves as president of AT&T Technology & Operations.
John Saw is CTO at Sprint, where he’s leading the technology charge on 5G.
Neville Ray was recently promoted from CTO at T-Mobile to president of technology.
Mike Irizarry is CTO at U.S. Cellular, where he advocates for the needs of rural wireless customers.
Tom Cullen is EVP for corporate development at Dish Network, where he’s poised to help the company become a wireless provider.
Marc Rouanne was recently hired as chief network officer at Dish Network, overseeing the strategy and architecture of the network, including its core, cloud and edge.
Craig Cowden serves as SVP of wireless technology at Charter Communications.
Stephanie Mitchko recently joined Charter Communications as CTO.
Ajit Pai is chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, overseeing spectrum regulations.
Tareq Amin is CTO at Rakuten, a company that is building a greenfield 4G/5G network in Japan, which others are looking to as an example.
Cristiano Amon serves as president of Qualcomm, where he is responsible for the oversight of all activities related to the company’s semiconductor business.
Jay Brown is CEO at tower and real estate company Crown Castle, which is helping U.S. carriers deploy 5G.
Jeffrey Stoops is president and CEO of SBA Communications, a tower company that is helping U.S. carriers deploy 5G.
James Taiclet is CEO at American Tower, a company that is helping U.S. carriers deploy 5G.
Tommi Uitto was hired as Nokia’s president of Mobile Networks about a year ago to help the company exploit the opportunities of 5G.
Erik Ekudden serves as CTO at Ericsson.
Chet Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Starry, a company that’s leading the charge on fixed wireless.
David Goeckeler is the executive vice president and general manager of Cisco's Networking and Security Business.
Preston Marshall is technical program manager at Google, where he has been one of the leaders in developing spectrum sharing rules for CBRS.
Iyad Tarazi is CEO at Federated Wireless, a company that is leading the industry in development of shared spectrum CBRS capabilities.
Ashraf Dahod is CEO at Altiostar, a company working on virtualization technology for service providers.
Pardeep Kohli is CEO at Mavenir, a company working on virtualization technology for service providers.
Steve Papa is CEO of Parallel Wireless, a company working on virtualization technology for service providers.