UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Click here for the results.
Just like we did last year, we’re letting you decide who is the most powerful person in the U.S. wireless industry for 2018.
Every workday for the next five days, we’re going to run a new round of voting in a tournament-style bracket. Voting starts first thing each morning as soon as each new matchup is published and ends roughly 24 hours later (except this weekend, when voting will remain open until Monday morning). By Tuesday of next week, 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 first bracket is below, and below that are the actual matchups that you can vote on. Then, below that, you’ll find the full list of candidates for the position and a short write-up explaining why each of them is on the list. (And for you sports fans out there, the seedings are mostly random and don't indicate favorites; we were more interested in creating exciting first-round matchups.)
For those of you keeping score, this is an annual feature that we publish at the end of each year. In 2014, for example, the FierceWireless editorial team selected FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler as the industry’s most powerful person, mainly because of his efforts to impose net neutrality guidelines on internet service providers. Before that, we selected Tim Cook as the industry’s most powerful person, largely due to the company’s success with the iPhone.
Starting in 2016, we opened our list to voting. T-Mobile’s John Legere won the vote that year, and last year OneWeb’s Greg Wyler won the vote after lobbying from the likes of Virgin’s Richard Branson and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.
This year we decided not to include Wyler on the list, mainly because his OneWeb company hasn’t yet started offering service. (We added him to the list last year because he won our “rising stars of 2017” vote.)
To be clear: FierceWireless’ editorial staff assembled this list through internal deliberations only. These are the 26 people we believe can legitimately lay claim to being the most powerful person in the U.S. wireless industry.
So, will T-Mobile’s Legere win again this year? Or will it be someone else? That’s up to you.
How should you determine who is the “most powerful” person in the telecom industry? You can vote based on the number of actual end users each executive counts at his or her company, or by the amount of cash they spend in a given year, or by the types of transactions they’ve attempted or closed, or by the innovations they’ve brought to market, or by the regulatory muscle they bring to the table. Maybe it’s just someone you admire. It’s up to you.
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.