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John Saw to Become Sprint Network Boss

Dan Jones
3/6/2014

Former Clearwire CTO John Saw has become the chief network officer at Sprint, it was revealed Thursday afternoon. He is replacing Bob Azzi, senior vice president of networks, who is leaving.

BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk broke the news with a tweet Thursday: "Sprint's John Saw promoted to Chief Network Officer as Bob Azzi to depart and Steve Elfman to retire at year end."

Minutes later, a Sprint spokeswoman confirmed to Light Reading that the news was "accurate." The changes are "effective immediately," she said in an email. "Bob has announced his retirement and John Saw has been promoted to Chief Network Officer."

Azzi and Elfman have been key to Sprint's 3G and 4G LTE Network Vision upgrade program and the later Spark update. "The Network Vision and Spark deployments will continue on schedule," the spokeswoman said. (See Sprint's 4G LTE Scramble and Igniting the Future: Sprint Spark.)

"Some of Bob's former organization will report to Stephen Bye, Sprint's Chief Technology Officer," she said.

Sprint sent Light Reading this official statement minutes later:

    Historically Sprint does not comment on personnel moves. Bob and Sprint reached a mutual understanding and Bob will be leaving. He is very actively engaged with the team to ensure a smooth transition of responsibility and we wish him well.

John Saw is one of the few C-Level people from Clearwire to make the transition to the management layer at Sprint. He will have plenty on his plate in 2014 to keep him busy. (See SoftBank's Son Keeps Sprint on Short Leash and Ex-Clearwire Boss Appointed NetMotion CEO.)

Sprint is integrating the 2.5GHz Clearwire network into its planned massive LTE TDD overlay. The firm has also stated ambitious plans for small cells this year. (See Sprint Plans Indoor, Outdoor Small Cells in 2014 and Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DOShea
DOShea
3/8/2014 | 3:53:29 PM
Re: Official statement
The guy is a survivor--he was one of the top two Clearwire execs left at Sprint, at least as of late last year.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
3/7/2014 | 5:59:35 PM
Re: Official statement
SEC says it's OK
DanJones
DanJones
3/6/2014 | 7:40:57 PM
Re: Official statement
They didn't reveal it over Twitter, they confirmed it after Walter tweeted about it.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
3/6/2014 | 7:19:51 PM
Re: Official statement
Does the SEC allow material disclosures via Twitter, or Sprint going to get into regulatory trouble over this?
DanJones
DanJones
3/6/2014 | 5:31:29 PM
Re: Official statement
Wonder how much this has to do with speeding the "Spark" overlay plans, if anyone is an LTE TDD expert at Sprint it is John Saw.
DanJones
DanJones
3/6/2014 | 5:02:17 PM
Official statement
Sprint just sent us this official statement on the moves:

 

Here is Sprint's official statement on Bob's departure:

 

Historically Sprint does not comment on personnel moves. Bob and Sprint reached a mutual understanding and Bob will be leaving.  He is very actively engaged with the team to ensure a smooth transition of responsibility and we wish him well.  
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