Sprint’s Michel Combes voted the most powerful person in U.S. wireless for 2018

Sprint CEO Michel Combes. (Sprint)

After several hundred thousand votes, we have a winner: Sprint CEO Michel Combes is the most powerful person in the U.S. wireless industry, at least according to the readers of FierceWireless.

Over the course of the past week, the FierceWireless “powerful people” tournament pitted 26 of the nation’s top wireless executives and regulators against each other in five rounds of matchups. Those matchups positioned vendors against customers, regulators against carriers and rivals directly against each other.

A number of companies—most notably Sprint—sought to rally their employees and their social media followings to their cause, and the voting certainly reflected those efforts. For example, the final faceoff between Sprint’s Combes and Cisco’s Chuck Robbins generated 52,000 votes yesterday as both companies worked to put their chief executive in the lead.

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Finally, it’s worth noting that Sprint’s Combes joins an exclusive group of wireless executives who have won the FierceWireless “powerful people” vote. T-Mobile’s John Legere won the contest in 2016, and OneWeb’s Greg Wyler won the vote last year after also winning the “rising stars” vote earlier that year.

However, Combes may not be in next year’s vote if the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile is approved; T-Mobile’s management is mostly positioned to take over management of the combined company.

If you enjoyed this tournament, I encourage you to head over to FierceVideo where my colleague Ben Munson is conducting a similar event for the U.S. video industry. Is T-Mobile's Jeff Binder more powerful than Viacom's Bob Bakish?

Congratulations to Sprint’s Michel Combes and all of this year’s “powerful people” challengers. And my personal thanks to all of you who voted! — Mike | @mikeddano