Meet the CTOs in wireless

clockwise from top left: AT&T’s Andre Fuetsch; Sprint’s John Saw; Verizon’s Roger Gurnani; and T-Mobile’s Neville Ray.

According to at least one report, fully 75 percent of all internet traffic will be routed over mobile networks as early as next year. That’s an astounding statistic for those of us who remember the launch of 2.5G GPRS networks roughly a decade ago – networks that, in some cases, reached the blazing-fast speed of 100 Kbps.

Today’s cellular networks are much different, of course. The LTE-powered networks of 2016 offer both spectral efficiency and speeds that may well soon reach 1 Gbps.

What’s even more impressive is that there are just a handful of executives in wireless who have been in charge of ushering in these impressive changes. These CTOs have had to balance spectral, technological, financial and workforce considerations as they work to both meet customer demands and stand apart from their competitors.

Moreover, the CTOs of the nation’s top wireless network operators – those at Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint – aren’t in a position to rest on their laurels. In the months and years ahead they will have to make decisions about small cells, virtualization, network density, spectrum auctions and, eventually, 5G. They definitely are facing a bumpy ride, particularly as growth slows.

In this new feature, Fierce is shedding some light on the manager/engineers charged with taking wireless into the next generation. Who are these executives? Where did they come from? Who do they report to, and how is their group structured? And most importantly, what immediate challenges are they facing? Click below for a look at each top CTO in wireless.

(This is the first part of a three-part series. Tomorrow we’ll look at the CTOs in the cable industry.)

We hope you enjoy it. –Mike | @mikeddano