5G and Beyond

T-Mobile's Neville Ray to retire, Ulf Ewaldsson to take over

T-Mobile's longtime networking chief, Neville Ray, announced he will retire in the fall. Ray will be replaced by Ulf Ewaldsson, a former Ericsson executive who joined T-Mobile in 2019.

The news brings to a close a momentous chapter in T-Mobile's corporate history. Ray is widely credited with guiding the company's "worst to first" networking journey, overhauling the company's sluggish 4G network and orchestrating the design and deployment of T-Mobile's shiny new 5G network.

Although T-Mobile still trails Verizon in terms of 5G network perception among most US consumers, the company is widely regarded to have the nation's fastest and broadest 5G network. Much of that is due to the $60 billion network upgrade program Ray initiated in 2020 following the close of T-Mobile's $26 billion acquisition of Sprint and its valuable 2.5GHz midband spectrum holdings.

But Ray's impact on T-Mobile – and the broader 5G industry – was clear well before that. Ray was the trusted networking chief under John Legere, the fiery CEO who first positioned T-Mobile as the "uncarrier" in 2013. Legere and Ray then charted a course for T-Mobile that propelled the company from last place in the US wireless industry to a solid second place ahead of AT&T, in terms of customer numbers.

"Neville and his team saw that the 5G era would be won or lost on midband spectrum, and this shared vision was so critical to the enormous success T-Mobile now enjoys. It simply can't be overstated," said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert in a release.

Ewaldsson (Source: T-Mobile)
(Source: T-Mobile)

As Ray exits, Ewaldsson's new networking team will include Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Brian King, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Abdul Saad, and Executive Vice President Advanced and Emerging Technologies John Saw.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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