Sprint hires wireless veteran Ivo Rook to lead IoT business

Rook's hiring underscores Sprint's increased focus on the IoT.

Sprint hired IoT veteran Ivo Rook away from Vodafone to lead its burgeoning connected devices business.

Rook spent the last seven years at Vodafone and was most recently CEO of the European carrier’s IoT division, which claims $1 billion in revenue, 50 million connections and 1,400 employees across 30 countries. He had been tasked with developing Vodafone’s IoT strategy and oversaw its growth, products, operations and economics.

He has also been director of Northern Europe for Vodafone Global Enterprise and director of Germany and Central Europe.

Rook will develop and “operationalize” Sprint’s IoT offerings and will be responsible for driving growth strategies including funding, alliances and business development. He will also serve as liaison officer to other Softbank Group companies looking to leverage the IoT.

“Sprint is a global leader in the development of IoT solutions,” Rook said in a press release. “I’m thrilled to join a company that is incredibly focused on this space, which will provide outstanding growth in the future. My focus will be on developing secure IoT solutions for our business customers and all people who want to make the best of the digital revolution.”

Indeed, while Sprint may not have leapt out of the gate in the early days of the IoT, the segment has become a top priority for the carrier. It expected to complete its deployment of LTE Cat 1 technology across its nationwide network over the summer, and it plans to begin to deploy LTE Cat M in mid-2018, followed by LTE Cat NB1.

The IoT, along with wireless and wireline, is one of the three critical business lines for the Sprint Business portfolio, according to Mohamad Nasser, general manager of Sprint’s IoT Business Unit.

“We’re making great progress on our road map in support of the evolution of the IoT standards and Access Technology,” Nasser said earlier this year in a press release. “We are investing effort and capital to make sure that Sprint is well positioned to capitalize on the incredible growth that IoT will experience globally.”