2019 Rising Star Winner – Ericsson's Yossi Cohen

Yossi Cohen, executive vice president, head of Customer Unit Verizon at Ericsson.(Source: Ericsson)

The FierceWireless editorial team has done it again. We’ve selected a slate of wireless executives who are on the rise. For 2019 we’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. Next week, we’ll post our popular Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in wireless. 

As the head of Ericsson's customer unit for Verizon, Yossi Cohen does more than focus on one of Ericsson's biggest customers. He is also focusing on his customer's customers by helping Verizon create the 5G network its users want. The most demanding and valuable users are business customers, and Cohen says many of them are eager to take advantage of 5G.

"Enterprises are jumping on this technology," Cohen said. "I was just amazed by the interest." Cohen said factories, automakers, healthcare providers and the movie industry are among the most interested.

RELATED: 5G bolsters Ericsson's Q2

Cohen started his career in the Israeli army's technology unit where he worked for four years before moving to a startup at age 25. He joined Ericsson in 2000 and has spent most of his career there supporting and advising global carriers as they develop and launch new network technologies.

"My contribution is connecting between the high demand business partner and our network organization," Cohen said. He helps Ericsson's research and development team understand Verizon's network needs, and he helps Verizon understand what's unfolding in Ericsson's labs. 

"What we have done with Verizon is define 5G," said Cohen. He thinks the work Ericsson and Verizon are doing with 5G is likely to create new business opportunities that haven't even been imagined yet, just as LTE has. "Look at ... how many ecosystems, how many industries are leveraging this technology," he said. "That's just fun to be part of." 

Cohen's work hasn't always been fun. He led the Ericsson team that supported Japan's SoftBank during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Cohen sent his family out of the country, but he chose to stay in Japan and work to restore mobile service to as many people as possible.

Working with SoftBank and other global carriers has been very valuable to Cohen, who now sees Verizon as a global leader in the current environment. He is driven to keep the carrier at the forefront of next generation technologies. "I personally really love to see new technology come to life," he said.