In 2020, FierceWireless’ Most Powerful People in Wireless competition came down to a contest between an operator – Telefonica – and a vendor – Mavenir. And the winner is Mavenir’s CEO Pardeep Kohli who garnered 6,995 votes to beat Telefonica’s Enrique Blanco with 4,175 votes.
Over the course of the past week, the FierceWireless “powerful people” tournament pitted 12 global operators against each other on one side of the bracket and 12 top wireless vendors against each other on the other side of the bracket.
The final match was an indicator of how things are changing in the wireless ecosystem, which is becoming more global, with carriers around the world emulating each other and working with upstart vendors who are transforming the radio access network (RAN).
In the end, it came down to Mavenir’s Kohli, representing a company that was early to bring virtualization and software-defined networking solutions for mobile core networks and which is now a leading vendor in the open RAN space. Among its wins, Mavenir has worked with Rakuten Mobile on its greenfield network and was also the first vendor chosen by Dish Network.
Open RAN is still in early days, but it promises great things for the future of mobile networks, including more innovation and more players. And Mavenir has staked its claim in this new ecosystem.
Mavenir’s Kohli joins an elite group of wireless executives who have won the FierceWireless “powerful people” vote. Rakuten Mobile’s Tareq Amin won the contest in 2019; Sprint’s Michel Combes was the winner in 2018; OneWeb’s Greg Wyler won in 2017; and T-Mobile’s John Legere won in 2016.
Congratulations to Mavenir’s Pardeep Kohli 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:
Bob Swan is CEO of Intel, a chip maker that’s important to both the wireless and wired telecommunications industry.
Shuky Sheffer is CEO of Amdocs, a company whose back-office technology is found in the majority of global carriers.
As CEO of Cisco, Chuck Robbins guides the strategy of one of the world’s largest vendors for wireline and wireless equipment.
Pardeep Kohli is CEO at Mavenir, a company working on virtualization technology for service providers.
As the new CEO of CommScope, Charles Treadway oversees the company’s complete wireless and wired businesses.
Patrick Gelsinger is CEO of VMware, a company whose virtual machine and container technology is instrumental in networks.
Iyad Tarazi is CEO at Federated Wireless, a company that is leading the industry in development of shared spectrum CBRS capabilities.
Preston Marshall is technical program manager at Google, where he has been one of the leaders in developing spectrum sharing rules for CBRS.
Pekka Lundmark recently took over as CEO of Nokia, one of the top three telecommunications vendors in the world.
As CEO of Ericsson, Borje Ekholm is leading the telecommunications vendor through the transition to 5G.
Mark Louison, general manager of the networks division at Samsung Electronics America, is helping the South Korean vendor expand its global presence in teleco network infrastructure.
Cristiano Amon serves as president of Qualcomm, where he is responsible for the oversight of all activities related to the company’s semiconductor business.
Marc Rouanne is chief network officer at Dish Network, overseeing the strategy and architecture of the company’s new wireless network, including its core, cloud and edge.
Enrique Blanco is CTO and chief information officer at Telefónica, a global service provider with fixed and wireless operations.
Tareq Amin is CTO at Rakuten Mobile where he led the charge to build a greenfield 4G/5G network in Japan.
Anne Chow is CEO of AT&T Business, the unit that serves enterprise customers.
As CEO of Verizon Business Group, Tami Erwin oversees the carrier's enterprise business.
Michael Trabbia is CTO and innovation officer at Orange where he oversees the technology for the operator and seizes opportunities via new technologies.
Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone Group’s head of network strategy and architecture, is a leading proponent of open RAN.
Neville Ray is president of technology at T-Mobile where he’s leading the carrier’s 5G strategy.
Mike Sievert is the CEO of T-Mobile, which has gained prominence over the last several years.
Hans Vestberg is CEO of Verizon, where he oversees the nation’s largest wireless network operator in terms of customers.
John Stankey is CEO of AT&T where he’s in charge of a variety of businesses for the carrier, including wireless, wired and media.
Charlie Ergen, is co-founder and chairman of the board for Dish Network, a company that’s building the fourth largest infrastructure-based wireless network in the U.S.