2021 FierceWireless Rising Star — AT&T’s Andrew Bennett

AT&T Consumer's Andrew Bennett (AT&T)

For 2021, FierceWireless has compiled a young and accomplished slate of up-and-coming wireless executives. We’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. These are all folks to keep an eye on as they make a mark in wireless, working in diverse areas of telecommunications.

Like most new college graduates, Andrew Bennett wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do when he graduated, but he knew he wanted to work in technology. He applied to a development program within AT&T for new graduates with technical degrees and got accepted.

“I didn’t graduate and plan to be in wireless,” he said. “But now that I’m in wireless, I think it’s a really exciting time to be in it. I feel lucky to be in this position and work with these people.”

For his first assignment, Bennett joined AT&T’s central office engineering group in San Francisco. He worked there for two years where he learned the intricacies of network design. Bennett then was transferred to AT&T’s headquarters in Dallas where he worked in capital planning for the company’s wireless network. This assignment, he said, allowed him to learn the “nuts and bolts” of the company’s wireless network. He also spent time heading up AT&T’s 5G Strategic Program office where he helped shape the company’s 5G product and deployment strategy.

Today, Bennett is the AVP of the postpaid network products for AT&T’s Consumer Division where he and his team of technical and product experts oversee AT&T’s wireless services from the network to the products and services that sit on top of the network. Bennett describes his group’s mission as “marrying the product plans with where the technology is going.”

He admits that this task can be challenging because his team has to work closely with all the other groups within AT&T to get things done. “We live and die on the relationships we build,” he said. “Everything we work on has a lot of stakeholders.”

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But the positive side of this, Bennett said, is that it allows his team to be at the center of new product initiatives, which he thinks is exciting. “We get to watch a product from breaking ground on cell site to buying a phone in a store. It’s a cool perspective to have.”

And not only is this current role a fit for Bennett’s technical skills, but it also allows him to be a problem solver, which he enjoys. “We aren’t just launching a new technology. We are working out how to monetize it,” he said. “I wasn’t here when we launched 4G, but I feel lucky to be in this position now.”