T-Mobile’s John Legere voted the most powerful exec in U.S. telecom for 2016

T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Image: T-Mobile

After a week of voting, T-Mobile CEO John Legere is the executive who Fierce readers believe is the most powerful person in the U.S. telecom industry.

The result stemmed from a bracket-style tournament that we ran on our website throughout last week. The tournament contained 26 total executives spanning the telecommunications industry, from Netflix’s Reed Hastings to AT&T’s Randall Stephenson to C Spire’s Hu Meena.

We used Polldaddy.com for the actual voting each day, and repeated voting was prohibited with a block to cookies and IP addresses.


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After four rounds of voting, the final matchup ran during the weekend and pitted Google’s CEO Larry Page against Legere. The final tally wasn’t close: Legere received around 92% of the roughly 7,000 total votes cast.

The result of our tournament—which, granted, was little more than a popularity contest—didn’t come as much of a shock. T-Mobile executives including CFO Braxton Carter, CTO Neville Ray and Legere himself publicly urged the company’s employees and customers to participate in the event—a tactic that’s not terribly surprising considering it aligns with the outspoken, interactive corporate positioning that T-Mobile executives from Legere on down have worked to employ for the past three years as part of the operator’s “uncarrier” branding.

However, there’s a strong argument to be made for Legere as the most powerful executive in the telecom market. Despite concerns over T-Mobile’s net neutrality positioning and its ongoing disputes with labor unions, Legere has nonetheless managed to create significant momentum around T-Mobile’s business through a range of strategies including paying off incoming customers’ early termination fees and zero-rating users’ music and video data. Importantly, many of those efforts have been copied by T-Mobile rivals including Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our powerful people tournament, and if you’re looking for more substantial insight into the telecom industry, I encourage you to check out Sean Buckley’s recent deep dive into the battle between telco and cable operators over the business services market, or Monica Alleven’s measured look at wireless operators’ ongoing 5G testing. Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think. – Mike | @mikeddano

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