2020 FierceWireless Rising Star — T-Mobile's Yasmin Karimli

T-Mobile's Yasmin Karimli (T-Mobile)

For 2020 the FierceWireless editorial team has selected a diverse slate of wireless executives who are on the rise in their careers. 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.

Launching a nationwide 5G network is enough of a challenge by itself. In addition to that, try integrating devices and network assets from a major corporate acquisition in quick succession.

That’s what T-Mobile has done over the last year and a half, first launching 5G in low-band 600 MHz spectrum, the first step to launching a nationwide 5G network, and in more recent months working to integrate its acquisition of Sprint. Yasmin Karimli, senior director of device technology and development at T-Mobile, led a team that was instrumental in making progress on those projects.

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“My job is to ensure that the device capability is aligned with our brand with the most advanced radio and core network features so that we drive capacity and spectral efficiency,” Karimli said. “What I like most about my job is that my team and I are developing new technologies that fuel innovation and economic growth to enable things not possible today.”

RELATED: T-Mobile CEO on C-band: We’re interested, but ‘disciplined’

Karimli’s first trick was leading the charge on T-Mobile’s aggressive low-band 5G effort. “When we embarked on our 5G journey with a plan to deploy it in 600 MHz low band, at first when I presented the plans to our key ecosystem partners, they thought I was crazy,” she said. “No one in the world was thinking about 5G as a coverage play.”

That effort recently culminated in the carrier’s announcement of nationwide availability for its 5G Standalone network reaching more than 250 million people and covering more than 1.3 million square miles.

More recently, Karimli and her team have taken on the post-acquisition challenge of migrating and integrating Sprint devices onto T-Mobile, an effort that has resulted in more than 85% of postpaid Sprint devices now being able to work on T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile also has put Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum to work for its 5G evolution.

Next up, Karimli is focusing on strategies to add more advanced features to the offering, like voice over 5G NR and 5G carrier aggregation so T-Mobile can leverage more spectrum for 5G.

“We have made significant progress on integration of Sprint devices, networks and employees, and on our 5G evolution, all in the middle of a global pandemic,” she said. “I’m very proud of my team for achieving these results.”

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