UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Click here for the results.
The results are in, and now it’s time to move on to round two.
Below is the five-day “powerful person” tournament for the U.S. wireless industry. The first round of voting started yesterday and ended this morning, with the full results of that round published here.
For each of the next four business days, we’re going to run a new round of voting, and by Tuesday we’ll announce the winner. We’re using Polldaddy.com for the actual voting, and repeated voting is prohibited with a block to cookies and IP addresses.
The second-round bracket is below, and underneath that are the actual matchups that you can vote on. Then, below that, you’ll find the full list of candidates for the position (as selected by the FierceWireless editorial team) and a short write-up explaining why each of them is on the list.
Action in the first round was pretty exciting, to say the least. The matchup that received the most attention—by far—was the faceoff between Nokia’s Ricky Corker and Ericsson’s Niklas Heuveldop. And that’s no surprise: In leading the nation’s first- and second-largest wireless network equipment providers, these two executives are in the midst of a major battle for 5G market share.
And in the final count, Ericsson’s Heuveldop squeezed out a win by just 55 votes (out of almost 20,000 votes cast). Now Heuveldop moves on to challenge Samsung’s Tim Baxter—the executive who he is currently facing in the market for 5G equipment, as Samsung is the nation’s third-largest wireless network equipment supplier.
That wasn’t the only close race in round one. Apple’s Tim Cook just beat Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf, and CommScope's Marvin Edwards squeezed past Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen.
And now, in round two, the action may heat up as T-Mobile’s John Legere goes head-to-head with Verizon’s Hans Vestberg. Legere, who won the “powerful people” vote in 2016, commands a substantial social media presence and is working to challenge Vestberg directly in the wireless market through his pending purchase of Sprint.
Vestberg, meanwhile, is also working to stamp out his new position as CEO of the nation’s largest wireless network operator, and has scheduled a major presentation at the upcoming CES show in Las Vegas in a bit of a coming-out party.
But that’s not the only exciting matchup in round two: Two of the nation’s top Beltway players—the FCC’s Ajit Pai and the CTIA’s Meredith Attwell Baker—are facing off against each other, while AT&T’s John Donovan will stare down Altice’s Dexter Goei—an upstart cable executive who plans to enter the mobile industry via an MVNO next year.
David Redl: As chief of the NTIA, Redl oversees vast swaths of government-owned spectrum that could be released for commercial use.
Charlie Ergen: As the chief executive of Dish Network, Ergen oversees Dish’s existing video business as well as the company’s efforts to build out its massive trove of wireless spectrum.
Stephen Bye: As C Spire’s president, Bye is helping to guide one of the nation’s most innovative regional wireless network operators.
Ken Meyers: As the CEO of the nation’s fifth largest wireless network operator, Meyers is essentially guiding the biggest regional wireless player in the country.
Ricky Corker: As the head of Nokia’s Americas business, Corker oversees the nation’s second-largest vendor of wireless networking equipment.
Chuck Robbins: As CEO of Cisco, Robbins guides the strategy of one of the world’s largest vendors for wireless and cable equipment and services.
John Donovan: Donovan is in charge of the wireless business of AT&T, the nation’s second-largest wireless network operator in terms of subscribers.
Steve Mollenkopf: As CEO of Qualcomm, Mollenkopf oversees the world’s biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones and a major force in the development of new wireless technology.
John Legere: Legere is CEO of T-Mobile, the nation’s third largest wireless carrier, and is currently working to close a merger with Sprint.
Greg Butz: Butz is the head of Comcast’s mobile business, including the company’s Xfinity Mobile MVNO.
Danny Bowman: Bowman is in charge of Charter’s mobile efforts, which include the company’s Spectrum Mobile MVNO.
Ajit Pai: As head of the FCC, Pai oversees spectrum regulations and mergers including the proposed combination of Sprint and T-Mobile.
Michel Combes: As CEO of Sprint, Combes oversee the nation’s fourth-largest wireless network operator.
Tim Baxter: As head of Samsung’s North American business, Baxter oversees one of the nation’s largest smartphone vendors and its third-largest wireless network equipment provider.
Tim Cook: As CEO of Apple, Cook oversees the company’s iPhone business as well as its computer, tablet and smart-watch efforts.
Niklas Heuveldop: As head of Ericsson’s North American business, Heuveldop is in charge of the nation’s largest supplier of wireless networking equipment.
Meredith Attwell Baker: As head of CTIA, Baker is in charge of the largest trade association for the wireless industry.
Hans Vestberg: As CEO of Verizon, Vestberg oversees the nation’s largest wireless network operator in terms of customers.
Sandra Rivera: As chief of Intel’s 5G efforts, Rivera is working to sell the company’s products and services to carriers, smartphone vendors and network equipment providers.
Dexter Goei: As the chief executive of Altice, Goei is navigating the company’s planned entry into the mobile business via an MVNO with Sprint.
Marvin Edwards: As CEO of CommScope, Edwards oversees a major wireless network component supplier as well as the company’s recent acquisition of Arris and Ruckus.
Jay Brown: As Crown Castle’s CEO, Brown oversees one of the nation’s biggest tower and small cell companies.
James Taiclet: As CEO of American Tower, Taiclet is in charge of one of the nation’s biggest tower companies.
Jeffrey Stoops: As CEO of SBA Communications, Stoops oversees one of the nation’s biggest tower companies.
David Hagan: As CEO of Boingo, Hagan is deploying Wi-Fi and DAS networks, and venturing into technologies like Passpoint.
Makan Delrahim: As assistant attorney general of the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Justice Department, Delrahim is reviewing mergers including the proposed combination of Sprint and T-Mobile.