Ahead of Sprint merger, T-Mobile names Abdul Saad as new CTO

T-Mobile has a new CTO, and he's taking the reins at a crucial time.

As first reported by GeekWire, Abdul Saad was recently promoted as T-Mobile's new CTO. T-Mobile confirmed the move to Light Reading.

Saad was previously SVP of technology at T-Mobile. He moves into the position vacated by T-Mobile's Neville Ray, who was promoted from CTO to the position of "president of technology" in November at the same time T-Mobile CEO John Legere announced he would leave T-Mobile by April of 2020. Legere will be replaced by Mike Sievert, who is currently T-Mobile's COO.

GeekWire also reported that David Carey, T-Mobile's EVP of corporate services, will leave the company later this year.

Carey and Legere join CFO Braxton Carter in announcing their plans to leave T-Mobile in the coming months. Although network chief Neville Ray has not announced any plans to leave T-Mobile, he has often said that 5G will be his "last G."

The front-office shuffling at T-Mobile paves the way for a new leadership team to take over the company following the close of its purchase of Sprint, which is now expected to happen in the next few weeks.

Legere, Sievert, Braxton and Ray for years have acted as a gregarious, tight-knit leadership team, helping to catapult T-Mobile from a trailing fourth position in the US wireless industry to an impressively successful challenger to AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile's pending purchase of Sprint would solidify the company's striking rise and would put it on almost equal footing with AT&T and Verizon in terms of US wireless market share.

Thus, it appears that Saad is being positioned to potentially take over command of T-Mobile's network operations if the operator's merger with Sprint is officially consummated.

T-Mobile has not yet said which executives will take over leadership of the combined company once its merger with Sprint is complete, apart from Sievert becoming CEO. Other notable executives among T-Mobile's network operations include Mark McDiarmid, Grant Castle and Ericsson veteran Ulf Ewaldsson, who was hired roughly a year ago as the company's SVP of technology transformation. T-Mobile confirmed that Ewaldsson still has that title. Sprint's longtime CTO is John Saw and other noteworthy networking executives at the company include Ryan Sullivan and Ron Marquardt.

As Sievert takes over leadership of the combined Sprint and T-Mobile, he will be looking to assemble a networking team with Ray that will likely draw from the ranks of both T-Mobile and Sprint. It's reasonable to assume that Saad, having taken over Ray's job, will be high on their list of candidates, especially if Ray decides to follow Carter, Legere and others out the door.

If Ray does leave T-Mobile, and if Saad does take over, he will immediately rise to the top of every vendor's contact list considering T-Mobile has pledged $40 billion in spending over three years to upgrade its network and combine it with Sprint's.

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

Mike Dano 2/24/2020 | 9:19:59 AM
Update I updated this article to include information on Ulf Ewaldsson.
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