Sept. 15, 2016 — The Wireless History Foundation (WHF) is inducting honorees in four categories into the prestigious Wireless Hall of Fame during the Foundation’s Sept. 6 dinner in Las Vegas:
Industry Associate — F.J. Pollak (posthumously). F.J. launched Tracfone in 1996 and led the company as its President and CEO until his death in April 2016. Through his vision, innovation, and commitment the company developed a “resale” model for the provision of nationwide services, and then expanded accessible prepaid service to the public. His concept of reliable service on affordable devices revolutionized the industry and helped define prepaid wireless as it is known today.
Pioneer — Richard J. Sherwin. At a critical time in the birth of the cellular industry, old rivalries and distrust could have impeded the ability of non-wireline applicants to reach market-wide settlements and avoid hearings and lotteries that would have significantly delayed competitive wireless services. Dick’s determination and honesty won over adversaries and his efforts were key elements in the formation of settlement partnerships that expedited non-wireline service to the public.
Service Provider — Ralph de la Vega. In his role as President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, Ralph led the company’s expansion as one of the world’s leading providers of smartphone and mobile Internet services and expanded into new growth areas such as connected cars, and home security and automation. He has been widely acknowledged for his civic involvement as well as for his leadership by academic institutions and non-profit organizations. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of AT&T Inc. and CEO of Business Solutions & International.
Technology — Joel S. Engel, Richard H. Frenkiel, and Philip T. Porter (posthumously) for their joint contributions to the conception of the cellular concept and design. As AT&T Bell Laboratories researchers in the 1960s and 70s, this trio led the effort to expand capacity of mobile radio spectrum through their design of cellular telecommunications networks. Under their leadership and expertise, the architecture and technical parameters were developed into a detailed proposal for submission to the FCC, leading to the establishment of the first nationwide cellular system standards.
“These are accomplished individuals whose achievements have made possible the diverse, competitive and robust wireless services we know today” said WHF Board member Rob Mechaley, CEO of MobileSphere Holdings and chairman of the 2016 selection committee. “We are privileged to induct them into the Wireless Hall of Fame.”
The Wireless Hall of Fame dinner will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Additional information on the honorees is available on the WHF web site at www.wirelesshistoryfoundation.org. To participate as a sponsor of the 2016 Wireless Hall of Fame dinner, please contact Linda Lievens at linda (at) wirelesshistoryfoundation dot org.
The Wireless History Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed to preserve and promote the history of the wireless industry. www.wirelesshistoryfoundation.org