Light Reading's Leading Lights 2023: The Finalists

Light Reading is delighted to announce the dozens of finalists in the 22 categories of this year's Leading Lights Awards program.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

July 28, 2023

6 Min Read
Light Reading's Leading Lights 2023: The Finalists

On behalf of Light Reading's editors, I am again pleased to announce this year's annual Leading Lights Awards shortlist.

Now in its 19th year, the Leading Lights is Light Reading's way of recognizing the innovation, technical and market achievements of the evolving global communications industry.

We appreciate your respect for our awards process during the last few years of heightened media distrust. As much as we admire the efforts of the companies and individuals who have entered, we can't put everyone through to the final round, but we have done our best to read each entry with fresh eyes and judge them on their own merits. Based on your feedback, we've returned to a winner-take-all approach to the technical and product categories. And that means that now more than ever if you're a Leading Lights finalist, you should be proud of your ability to stand out.

Our finalist round begins soon and our judging panel will include: Dell'Oro Group's Jeff Heynen and Jimmy Yu; Tantra Analyst's Prakash Sangam; our Informa colleagues James Crawshaw, Roz Roseboro, Pablo Tomasi and Jaimie Lenderman; Rosenblatt Securities' Mike Genovese; US Ignite's Mari Silbey; Vertical Systems Group's Erin Dunne; and our Heavy Reading colleagues Sterling Perrin, Jennifer Clark and Gabriel Brown.

The shortlist

Now it's time to reveal the finalists our editors and guest judges have picked for the Light Reading Leading Lights Awards. The shortlist is below, so start scrolling:


Most Innovative 5G Core Deployment

Awarded to the vendor or service provider that has launched the most innovative deployment of a 5G core in a live network with real subscribers during the past year.

  • Hughes, an EchoStar Company

  • Cisco Systems

  • SK Telecom

  • KT

Most Innovative RAN Product or Solution

Awarded to the vendor that has launched the most innovative radio access network (RAN) product or solution during the past year.

  • Samsung

  • Intel

  • Cohere Technologies

  • Juniper Networks – with Vodafone, Parallel Wireless and Aira Technologies

  • Marvell

  • Red Hat – with NVIDIA

  • Freshwave – with The City of London

  • ZTE

  • Netcracker

  • Jio Platforms

Outstanding Use Case: IoT

Awarded to the service provider or vendor helping change businesses and improve customer experiences with innovative Internet of Things devices and services.

  • Comcast's MachineQ

  • 6D Technologies

  • Mavenir – with Deutsche Telekom IoT GmbH

  • Singtel

  • Keysight

Outstanding Use Case: Networked Edge

Awarded to the company that can articulate a compelling example of how it delivered edge computing solutions – either network or customer-facing. For network service providers, this category includes any distributed and dedicated edge solutions in collaboration with hyperscalers.

  • Nokia

  • Spectrum Enterprise

  • SK Telecom – with BICS, Samsung Electronics and AWS

  • ZTE – with Wuhan Iron and Steel Corp. (WISCO)

  • World Wide Technology

Outstanding Use Case: Private Wireless Networks

Awarded to the company that can share the most compelling example of building and/or operating a private wireless network on behalf of a corporate or municipal customer.

  • Celona

  • China Telecom Americas

  • BICS – with Airbus

  • ZTE – with Wuhan Iron and Steel Corp. (WISCO)

  • Boldyn Networks – with Moray East Offshore Wind Farm

Wireless Technology Vendor of the Year

Awarded to the wireless technology vendor or software provider that is a standout example of all-around excellence.

  • AMD

  • Extenet

  • Amdocs

  • Tarana Wireless

Overall Excellence

Light Reading MVPs

Awarded to the communications industry individuals, at any corporate level, who made an unmistakable difference in their company, community, culture – or all three.

  • Maryam Rofougaran, CEO, Movandi

  • Carl Guardino, VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Tarana Wireless

  • Jezzibell Gilmore, Chief Commercial Officer, Connectbase

  • Mattias Fridström, Chief Evangelist, Arelion

  • Dr. Loi Nguyen, EVP, Optical and Copper Connectivity Group, Marvell

  • Mike Finley, CEO, Boingo

  • Jack Raynor, Co-chair, Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenWiFi

Company of the Year (Private)

Awarded to the privately held firm that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.

  • Celona

  • Zayo Group

  • MATRIXX Software

  • IP Infusion

  • Cohere Technologies

  • Federated Wireless

  • Tarana Wireless

  • World Wide Technology

  • Arrcus

  • ATX Networks

Company of the Year (Public)

Awarded to the publicly listed firm that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.


  • Amdocs

  • Tejas Networks

  • Keysight

  • SiTime

  • Vecima Networks

  • Fortinet

Outstanding Use Case: Customer Experience

Awarded to the company that used its communications technology or network to deliver a superior experience to business, consumer or government customers.

  • 6D Technologies

  • Optiva

  • Mirada

  • Lifecycle Software

  • JMA Wireless

  • Whale Cloud – with DITO Telecommunity

  • Sandvine

  • Freshwave – with Three UK

Best Public-Private Partnership

Awarded to the organizations working together to expand broadband access and other technology services to help narrow the digital divide for municipalities and community institutions, including school districts, nonprofits and other public sector organizations.

  • Consolidated Communications and the Maine Connectivity Authority (MCA)

  • Cradlepoint and The City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia

  • Cradlepoint and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)

  • Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenWiFi – with Dublin City Council, ThinkWiFi, and Mawingu

Digital Equity All-Stars

Service provider, vendor or technology company working to broaden access/reduce barriers to connectivity, devices and services for hard-to-reach and otherwise marginalized communities. We're looking for any effort (one-off, recently started or ongoing) that demonstrates a drive to both increase access to connectivity and reduce barriers to affordability and/or education using digital tools and services.

  • Calix

  • World Wide Technology

  • Ribbon

  • Tarana Wireless

  • Ookla

  • Render Networks


Broadband Service Provider of the Year

Awarded to the network operator or other broadband service provider that had the best year ever.

  • Frontier Communications

  • Ogi – with Nokia

Most Innovative Broadband Access Solution

Awarded to the company that has launched the most innovative product or service that will enable the delivery of high-speed broadband access via fixed wireless, satellite, fiber or cable.

  • Infinera

  • Kontron

  • DZS

  • Vecima Networks

  • Mavenir – with Quickline Communications

  • Radisys

  • Calix

Outstanding Use Case: Consumer Broadband Deployment

Awarded to the company that has delivered an exceptional high-speed broadband access experience in the past year – via fixed wireless, satellite, fiber or cable.

  • Render Networks

  • Juniper Networks – with NEC and Tele Columbus AG

  • Zyxel Communications – with DIGI Spain

  • LotusFlare – with Globe Telecom

Outstanding Use Case: Home Network Intelligence

Awarded to the company that offered superior Wi-Fi management, home security, ad blocking, entertainment or other digital experience used to enhance home broadband.


  • DZS – with TalkTalk Group

  • Nokia

  • Incognito Software Systems

Digital Transformation

Outstanding Use Case: AI/Machine Learning

Awarded to the company that is using artificial intelligence or machine learning in an innovative way to improve network performance, customer service or business operations.

  • ZTE

  • Plume

  • Cox Communications

  • EnterpriseWeb

  • P.I. Works – with Turkcell


  • Juniper Networks

  • Mavenir

  • Comviva

Outstanding Use Case: Network and Service Automation

Awarded to the company that uses new technology to reduce the time it takes to set up, deploy, integrate, scale or secure network infrastructure, network services or applications. This category can include uses of SD-WAN, SASE and SSE, if relevant.


  • Console Connect

  • Amdocs – with VodafoneZiggo

  • EnterpriseWeb

  • TransUnion

  • IBM – with BT Business

  • Federated Wireless – with California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly)

  • stc (Saudi Telecom Company)

Most Innovative Cloud Product or Service

Awarded to the service provider, cloud provider or vendor that has launched the most innovative cloud-native, communications-focused product or service during the past year.

  • Witbe

  • Netcracker

  • Mavenir

  • A10 Networks

  • Juniper Networks

  • Rakuten Symphony

  • Amdocs

Fixed Telecom and Cable Infrastructure

Most Innovative Optical Networking Product

Awarded to the optical systems vendor or optical components vendor that has provided the most innovative optical networking solution for service provider customers.

Fujitsu Network Communications

  • CommScope

  • Ciena

  • Marvell

  • Infinera

  • Nokia

  • Ribbon

  • Radisys

Most Innovative Routing and Switching Solution

Awarded to the vendor that has launched the most innovative hardware- or software-based routing and switching solution for network operators.

  • Nokia

  • Cisco

  • Ciena

  • Arista

  • Juniper


  • Lumentum

  • DriveNets

  • Arrcus

  • Varnish Software

Most Innovative Cable Network Technology

Awarded to the company that has developed innovative products or solutions that help network operators extend the life of their hybrid-fiber coaxial networks as they either compete with or transition to all-fiber networks.

  • Vecima Networks

  • ATX Networks

  • Technetix Group Ltd

  • OpenVault

Congratulations to all our finalists and, again, thanks to everyone who entered the Leading Lights.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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