Yesterday was officially the 25th anniversary of the day the first cellular system opened for business in Chicago and to commemorate that event a sold-out crowd of more than 400 industry luminaries gathered at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Last night's event, which was hosted by the Wireless History Foundation, was quite a celebration. It felt like I was in a ballroom with the "who's who" of the wireless industry--both past and present.
One special attendee was Judy Shapiro, owner of Judy's Mobile Supply Service in South El Monte, Calif. Now Judy may not be a wireless pioneer in the same sense as Marty Cooper, Craig McCaw or Denny Strigl, but she definitely is an industry luminary. You see, Judy is one of the earliest cellular customers. She remembers forking over $2,500 for a cellular phone (in fact, at last night's event she was carrying around one of her first "brick phones"). Judy was at the event as a guest of Verizon Wireless and she is very proud of the fact that she has never "churned" from her carrier though she can trace her wireless phone bills back to PacBell before it became AirTouch, which of course eventually became Verizon Wireless. Check out my photos of the event here.
It's fitting that during this special time in wireless' history that Fierce is counting down it's 25 Most Powerful People in Wireless. As I mentioned yesterday, we will be revealing five people per day, leading up to our top 5 picks on Friday. Be sure to check out today's picks --No. 16-20 here. -Sue