2019 Rising Star Winner - T-Mobile's Grant Castle

Grant Castle, VP Engineering Services and Quality Assurance, T-Mobile

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.

When Grant Castle joined T-Mobile in 1994, he was an engineering student at the University of Washington, and T-Mobile was a regional carrier serving rural areas in Montana and Colorado. Twenty-five years later, T-Mobile is a nationwide carrier poised to acquire Sprint and become a true competitor to Verizon and AT&T. Castle, who has stayed with T-Mobile ever since his college internship, is now the VP responsible for quality assurance on the network. He hasn’t forgotten his early days spent serving rural customers.

“Some of the areas that can benefit the most from 5G are parts of rural America that honestly today have not gotten the attention they deserve,” said Castle. “For example, we think there are a lot of interesting agricultural IoT solutions out there and a number of other things that I think really could be game changers for many parts of rural America.” Castle noted that T-Mobile’s 600 MHz spectrum is well-suited for deployment in rural areas as well as cities. T-Mobile is using the spectrum for LTE today, and plans to add 5G when the time is right.

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“We’re really focused on trying to do 5G the right way and really bring it to all of America,” said Castle. “Our focus has been on ... a quality experience, with solid coverage, with good software, with good experience so that customers can really understand what 5G could be. We were kind of disappointed with some of the other carriers going off so early that some of the early tests showed that it wasn’t that good, because honestly they went before the stuff was ready.”

RELATED: AT&T”s 5G E slower than some 4G networks, says study

When T-Mobile does launch 5G, Castle and his team will be paying close attention to customer feedback, a discipline that Castle says CEO John Legere has brought to the company. 

“When you start listening and hearing what customers have to say, you learn a lot,” Castle said. “Sometimes you think you know what you’re doing on the network, and you find out it’s not working that way for customers.”

Castle doesn’t expect his role to change much after the Sprint merger. He says T-Mobile’s goal of quality nationwide 5G won’t change, and he thinks the new resources Sprint brings will help the carrier reach that goal. 

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