Former AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie Discusses the Future of Mobile

Glenn Lurie is a true pioneer and a respected visionary in the field of wireless mobile communications. Throughout a career that spans  30+ years, he has found incredible success seeing the trends in the industry …


Glenn Lurie is a true pioneer and a respected visionary in the field of wireless mobile communications. Throughout a career that spans  30+ years, he has found incredible success seeing the trends in the industry and executing on disruptive, innovative partnerships and new businesses in the established TMT (technology, media, and telecommunications) industries.

In addition to earning a place on Global Telecom Business’ “Power 100” on several occasions, he received the Atlanta Telecoms Professionals Association’s Atlanta Telecom Professional of the Year Award in 2009 and Wireless Week’s Telecom Leadership Award in 2010. In addition, Russell Reynolds Associates ranked him among the ten leading “MobileGameChangers” of 2014 for his “mobile-first approach to developing innovative services that enhance the way people live.”

The Birth of the Modern Smartphone with AT&T

Shortly after securing his bachelor of arts in business and marketing from Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington, Glenn Lurie joined the offices of McCaw Cellular Communications in Portland, Oregon. As an account executive at McCaw, he found himself on the ground floor of a cellular revolution driven by groundbreaking new technologies in wireless communications. After winning McCaw’s “Circle of Excellence” and “Reach the Summit” awards for his sales success, he transitioned to product management with a specific focus on new wireless products and services, as well as managing the wireless devices team.

Within three years of his hard work and success, he was asked to lead one of two Wireless Service Centers in Portland, Oregon. He transitioned quickly to  Market Manager for its Columbia River Markets in Oregon. From there, he accepted a long series of promotions, including General Manager of Arizona and then Los Angeles then because Regional President of the West Region for AT&T Wireless.  In 2004 Cingular Wireless acquired AT&T Wireless, and Glenn moved into the position of President of National Distribution.  Over the next many years, Glenn was asked to lead the effort on some of the most industry-changing projects, partnerships and start-ups for AT&T.  He was instrumental in bringing the modern smartphone to market as a viable consumer device. He led AT&T’s negotiations with Apple to facilitate the development of the world’s first iPhone. He also played a key role in the rollout of the first consumer tablet: the Apple iPad. In addition, he built three businesses for AT&T from the ground up. These businesses were the Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Life (home security and automation), and Aio Wireless (now doing business as Cricket Wireless). He ultimately became president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations.

From AT&T to Synchronoss Technologies

Looking back on the monumental achievement he and the AT&T team did to bring the Apple and iPhone iPad to market, Glenn Lurie marvels at his work alongside the Apple team, including Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Eddy Cue. “Look, it was amazing to be a part of,” he said. “we all  learned a ton, and I’d like to think they learned a lot from us, too.” But, most importantly, he viewed the development if the iPhone, the launch as an industry-changing, but more importantly, world-changing event that has come to define the future of mobile technology.

After retiring from  AT&T after 27 years in late 2017, he took his extensive industry knowledge and leadership skills to Synchronoss Technologies in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Creating digital products that promote network efficiency, simplify onboarding, engage subscribers, streamline connectivity, reduce costs, develop new revenue streams, and increase speed to market, this state-of-the-art software company gave Mr Lurie new and exciting opportunities to explore the full potential of mobile. He ultimately served three years as Synchronoss’ President and Chief Executive Officer. He also sat on the company’s Board of Directors.

Taking Mobile Far into the Future

Today, Glenn Lurie drives technological innovation as a general partner with the early-stage capital venture fund Stormbreaker Ventures. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the network services company Pivotal Commware, Avis Budget Group, BlueLink Wireless,  and the IoT wireless company TEAL Communications.

His work with this diverse array of tech innovators places Mr Lurie in a unique position and view of the evolving and ever-changing state of global mobile technology and industry. When asked about developing technologies such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) and how wireless technologies with play in these spaces, he notes, first and foremost, that wireless technology is today and will continue to play a huge role in the development and ultimate use cases for AR/VR.  He said “that wireless and mobility will play a role in almost every one of these new devices and technologies now and in the future.  It will be the driver of growth and modernization indefinitely due to its unparalleled ability to improve people’s lives.

“There’s no post-mobile ever,” says Glenn Lurie. “It’s going to morph as everything does, but note that everything will be mobile and connected.”

The Key Role of IoT

Glenn Lurie clearly saw the future of mobile when he was asked to launch AT&T Wireless’ Internet of Things (IoT) team in 2008. “We called it emerging devices before,” he recalled, “because IoT wasn’t a term as of yet.”

At the time, the team was one of the first of its kind in the entire industry.  Wirelessly enable all kinds of smart devices and machines was a very new concept in 2008. However, the AT&T leaders, along with Mr Lurie could see the vast potential of connecting everything; having devices with the ability to communicate with each other was not only going to improve peoples life’s, that is was going to happen.  “Today, when you take intelligence like AI and machine learning, you add in low latencies 5G delivers, and the speeds that we now have…. When you bring those things all together, what you get is an ‘everything’s connected’ and truly intelligent world… And you get a world where these things should be able to help everyone to  have a better life.”

The Magic of a Fully Connected World

But what, exactly, might your life look like in this “everything’s connected” world? To answer this question, Glenn Lurie paints a vivid and compelling picture.

“Imagine a life where you wake up, and your entire home/condo/apartment is talking to each other and connected devices in your life,” he says. “They are all communicating and know your calendar…  now your car knows your calendar, etc., etc. This intelligence to know and then predict what you are going to do will simplify your life. I’m going to get in my car to head to work My car, phone etc., knows I’m going to stop at my favorite coffee shop and has already ordered my  coffee… by the way when I drove out of my driveway my house automatically put on the alarm and turned off all the lights and locked the doors as my home is connect as well… And now it’s going to tell me the right way to go to my first appointment based on traffic and what’s going on in the city because the city is connected”

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