Fierce Wireless, a leading wireless and wireline industry trade publication, has named Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire, one of the 25 most powerful people in the U.S. wireless and wireline industries in 2013. Meena landed at No. 20 on the 2013 Top 25 list — ahead of Nokia EVP Steve Elop and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
This is the first year wireline operations have been included in the assessment and the third consecutive year the C Spire executive has made the exclusive list (No. 20 in 2011 and No. 16 in 2012).
The list is a compilation of who Fierce believes are the innovators and leaders in the U.S. wireless and wireline industries and who have the most influence on domestic wireless and wireline products, services and policies.
Top-ranked on the list is Lowell McAdams, chairman, CEO and president of Verizon Communications. Click here to see the full list.
Here’s how Fierce described Meena in its listing:
“What makes him powerful: In a world where consolidation among wireless carriers is rampant, Hu Meena stands apart. As the head of C Spire, he’s devoted to keeping this regional carrier strong and independent by making smart decisions and keeping his options open.
“For example, C Spire launched LTE service more than a year ago in Mississippi in the 1700 MHz AWS spectrum and 1900 MHz PCS spectrum but not in its Band Class 12 700 MHz spectrum because at a time there were no devices available due to lack of 700 MHz interoperability. Nevertheless, C Spire needed a broader footprint to appeal to its customers. So in April of this year, the company inked a deal with Sprint to enable LTE roaming across multiple spectrum bands. C Spire is working with Sprint, Qualcomm and others on a solution that will allow LTE roaming across 850 MHz, 1900 MHz and 700 MHz spectrum. The company also is expanding its LTE coverage area into parts of Alabama and Florida.
“C Spire also has fought hard to get the latest and greatest devices for its customers so it can compete with the larger operators–that includes having access to the latest Apple products. In September, C Spire announced that it was offering the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c and last month started offering the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina Display tablets.
“Because of Meena’s nimble leadership skills, C Spire has been able to innovate on bundled pricing, something larger operators have struggled to do. For example, last June the company announced “online video passes,” which allow customers to watch streaming video from their devices if they purchase a day pass. The day passes cost $5 for 2 hours of viewing, $10 for 5 hours of viewing and $30 for a monthly pass of unlimited streaming for 30 days. Analyst Susan Welsh de Grimaldo of Strategy Analytics said that C Spire is one of the only operators offering video passes but she expects more experimentation like this in 2014.
“In addition, the company in September entered the 1 Gbps fiber to the home (FTTH) arena with a focus on serving the Mississippi market. Similar to the way Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG) has engaged with the communities it plans to serve, C Spire worked closely with communities in Mississippi to identify the best markets for its service. Last month, C Spire said that the first cities that will receive the 1 Gbps service are Batesville, Clinton, Corinth, Hattiesburg, Horn Lake, McComb, Quitman, Ridgeland and Starkville, Miss. Customers will be able to purchase the 1 Gbps Internet access service for $80 a month, while a combined Internet and home phone package cost $100 a month. C Spire also offers an Internet and digital TV bundle for $140 a month and $160 a month for customers who want a voice, video and data triple play bundle. Customers of its wireless unit receive a $10 discount on all of the service packages.
“The company also is dedicated to keeping its core markets strong: Last summer, it purchased PCS spectrum from Leap Wireless for $6 million. Although the transaction is relatively small in the world of spectrum deals, it is an indication that C Spire is not giving up on improving its spectrum position even as smaller carriers are being acquired.”
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