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2021 Leading Lights Categories


Best Deal Maker
Best Deal Maker

Awarded to the company that has consistently demonstrated good timing, judgment and execution in high-profile acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures and other multi-company financial or strategic arrangements.

Best New 5G Core Product
Best New 5G Core Product

Awarded to the vendor that has launched the most innovative 5G core product during the past year.

Best New Cable Tech Product or Service
Best New Cable Tech Product or Service

Awarded to the vendor or network operator that has launched the most innovative cable technology product or cable-powered service during the past year.


Best New Cloud Product or Service (Network Operator)
Best New Cloud Product or Service (Network Operator)

Awarded to the network operator (telco, cloud, cable, etc.)  that has launched the most innovative cloud-native product or service during the past year.

Best New Open RAN Product
Best New Open RAN Product

Awarded to the vendor that has launched the most innovative open RAN product during the past year.

Best New Optical Networking/IP Product
Best New Optical Networking/IP Product

Awarded to the company that has launched the most innovative optical networking or IP product during the past year.


Best New Video/Media Product or Service
Best New Video/Media Product or Service

Awarded to the company that has launched the most innovative streaming video or other media product or service during the past year.

Company of the Year (Private)
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.

Company of the Year (Public)
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.


Most Innovative 4G/5G Business Service
Most Innovative 4G/5G Business Service

Awarded to the company that has launched a leading, innovative service delivered on 4G or 5G networks for business customers during the past year.

Most Innovative 4G/5G Consumer Service
Most Innovative 4G/5G Consumer Service

Awarded to the company that has launched a leading, innovative service delivered on 4G or 5G networks for consumers during the past year.

Most Innovative Hybrid Networking Strategy
Most Innovative Hybrid Networking Strategy

Awarded to the company that has outlined and clearly communicated an innovative, market-leading hybrid networking technology strategy during the past year.


Most Innovative SD-WAN Product/Service Evolution
Most Innovative SD-WAN Product/Service Evolution

Awarded to the company that has outlined and clearly communicated how its SD-WAN product or service has improved and kept changing in the past year to help deliver a superior SD-WAN experience to its customers.

Most Innovative Service Provider Cloud Strategy
Most Innovative Service Provider Cloud Strategy

Awarded to the network operator or service provider that has outlined and clearly communicated an innovative, market-leading cloud strategy during the past year.

Outstanding Digital Enablement Vendor
Outstanding Digital Enablement Vendor

Awarded to the next-generation OSS/BSS/CX, analytics or digital commerce systems vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.


Outstanding Optical/IP Networking Components Vendor
Outstanding Optical/IP Networking Components Vendor

Awarded to the components vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.

Outstanding Test & Measurement Vendor
Outstanding Test & Measurement Vendor

Awarded to the communications networking test and measurement, monitoring or assurance systems vendor that stands out from its competitors, innovates constantly, helps set the industry trends, makes investors proud and makes employees happy.

Outstanding Use Case: Cable Business Services
Outstanding Use Case: Cable Business Services

Awarded to the cable MSO that delivered a compelling enterprise or SMB product or service to a customer, helping improve their business.


Outstanding Use Case: Customer Experience
Outstanding Use Case: Customer Experience

Awarded to the company that used its communications technology or network to deliver a superior customer experience, bringing value to individuals or communities in the past year.

Outstanding Use Case: Edge Computing
Outstanding Use Case: Edge Computing

Awarded to the company that can articulate a compelling example of how it delivered edge computing solutions – either network or customer-facing – that helped make a difference in a customer's business during the past year.

Outstanding Use Case: Private Wireless Networks
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 during the past year.


Outstanding Use Case: Service Provider AI/Automation
Outstanding Use Case: Service Provider AI/Automation

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

Outstanding Use Case: Service Provider IoT
Outstanding Use Case: Service Provider IoT

Awarded to the service provider or other company helping customers change the way they do business with innovative Internet of Things devices and services.

Outstanding Use Case: Service Provider Security (can include SD-WAN)
Outstanding Use Case: Service Provider Security (can include SD-WAN)

Awarded to the network operator, cloud provider or other service provider that can articulate a compelling example where they helped provide exceptional security products or services to a customer during the past year.


Person of the Year
Person of the Year

Awarded to the communications industry individual, at any corporate level, who made an unmistakably big difference in your company's performance, character, community or culture in the last 12 months.

Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame

Every year, Light Reading recognizes those individuals, both the famous and the infamous, who have made a notable contribution to the global communications sector. Among those inducted in previous years are Steve Jobs, Bob Metcalfe, John Chambers, Kris Rinne, Irwin Jacobs, Larissa Herda, Hedy Lamarr, John Legere, Lightworks Lou and many more.