Senior Director of Technology and Innovation at T-Mobile
Erin Raney is Senior Director of Technology and Innovation at T-Mobile and leads the Tech Experience programme. She and her team are responsible for T-Mobile's Innovation Centre and programmes that help bring forward the brand’s wireless capabilities and allow others to innovate.
“I never dreamed about working in telecommunications growing up,” she jokes, explaining how her engineer father encouraged her to earn an engineering degree - which she did, in civil engineering, before obtaining a master’s in telecommunications.
Noting that her college years coincided with the boom in popularity of mobile phones which gripped her and her classmates, Raney was inspired - again, by her father - to pursue a career in communications, after not finding an immediate passion in designing buildings and structures.
“It was my engineering degree that got me in the door,” she adds. “Really the rest is history.”
Erin’s entire career has been at what is now T-Mobile, joining in September 2000. “At the time it was VoiceStream and I worked my way through the technology organisation,” she adds. “I had the opportunity to work on many different aspects of the network and services.”
Raney created the Tech Experience Program and Center in 2016, and has since spearheaded and launched the Tech Experience 5G Hub opened in 2022, a 24,000 sq ft technology innovation centre in Seattle, next to T-Mobile’s National Technology Lab.
Dubbing it an “incredible opportunity”, Raney and her team propel technology and really engage with a larger community and ecosystem.
She continues: “It's been a fantastic ride and a fantastic journey.
“What really excites me about wireless - especially now being 23 years in the industry - is that it's truly a part of our world in every aspect. “Everything we do has connectivity or can benefit from connectivity.
“It's beyond our smartphone - whether it's healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment, the list goes on. That's what excites me, that wireless can bring so much benefit to just about any business and any person within their life. So the possibilities truly are endless and I love the variety and I love making such a positive impact.”
She adds how her main inspiration stems from the hub she helped bring to life, having a facility to engage with a large variety and community of students, startups, enterprise customers, community leaders and industry leaders.
“What inspires me is hearing their ideas and their stories about how wireless and 5G can help them. That's what really excites me,” Raney shares, dubbing the Tech Experience Program her proudest achievement to date.
Initially clueless on how she could bring forward T-Mobile’s technology capabilities - but trusted by the technology leadership team to do so - to create, build and lead a programme and vision with no particular end goal other than to innovate and inspire.
“It's been just an incredible experience to see how this programme's grown, the impact it's had on our business, and again, our community,” she says proudly. “I would say most importantly, proud of this team - this team that has joined me on this wild ride and taken this risk.
“When you talk about innovation, you don't know what's next. You know, you're kind of in, you're in unchartered territory. I’m very proud of what we've accomplished together as a team.”
Reflecting on the last 23 years, she added: “My career to date is all T-Mobile which I'm very proud of. It's been a company that's allowed me to personally grow and develop my career. I don't think I've ever been bored or never had the opportunity to be challenged and take something new on.”
Working her way through the ranks shaped the work Raney now does today. Starting as a systems design engineer, she has worked in location-based services, E911 - which automatically provides the caller's location to 911 dispatchers and in managing roaming services. She later managed T-Mobile’s messaging and voicemail platform and a variety of network services.
Her work has also led to the opportunity to lead working groups within GSMA North America.
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