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Leading Lights Awards

General Information and FAQs

// What is The Leading Lights Awards?

The Leading Lights is Light Reading's annual awards program recognizing innovation and achievement in the global communications industry. 

Since 2004, The Leading Lights has honored the companies, teams and individuals carrying the industry forward. 

The entry process, judging and final selection of winners are produced independently of any other program or process run by or associated with Light Reading. Every entry is judged on its own merits by our Editors as well as a curated group of industry experts.

//  When does The Leading Lights open?

The Leading Lights opens on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

The Early Bird Deadline is Friday, May 17, 2024, featuring preferred pricing.

The Final Deadline is Friday, June 28, 2024.

//  When are Finalists announced?

The Leading Lights Finalists will be announced on Tuesday, July 30, 2024 on lightreading.com.

//  When are Winners announced?

The Leading Lights Winners will be announced via a video presentation on Tuesday, September 24, 2024.

// What do I need to submit my work?

All entries must be written in English and submitted via our online form.

  • Please read the entire entry form before you begin. The information required is straightforward and some questions have specified word limits.

  • You may provide up to 3 links with additional information to support your entry. One of those links can be to a Dropbox or Google Drive folder with additional articles, charts, data or research to give our judges a fuller picture of your work.     


// Where do I submit my entries?

Right here

//   What are the entry fees?

During the Early Deadline period (April 16 through May 17, 2024), the fee is $399 per entry.

During the Final Deadline period (May 20 through June 28, 2024), the fee is $499 per entry.

//  What payment types are accepted?

You can pay via debit or credit card at the time of submission. You may save and edit your entry at any point up until submission and payment is complete.

//  Who judges The Leading Lights?

The judging process is overseen by Phil Harvey, Light Reading's chief editor, who has been a reporter and editor at the publication for over 18 years. The first-round judges include Light Reading's editorial team: Iain Morris, Kelsey Ziser, Nicole Ferraro, Jeff Baumgartner, Mike Dano, Gigi Onag and Tereza Krásová. 

Final round judges are a curated group of independent contributors and analyst colleagues, who bring specific expertise across our award categories. Read more about the 2024 judges here.

//  Who won in 2023?

Here's a complete recap of last year's contest. 

Here are the finalists and the winners from the 2023 Leading Lights Awards.

//  What advice would you give to anyone entering the awards?

Keep your awards entries clear, concise, accurate and interesting. Focus on why you think your company or work should win, be specific and, when you make a claim to greatness, back it up with evidence. Having customers or partners who will vouch for your claims definitely helps, too.

"This is a chance for your company to explain why your products, services, and culture are unique in a competitive market. Our editors and judges look for compelling narratives that make communications technology and its uses more understandable, accessible and inspiring." – Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Category FAQs

//   What are the awards categories?

The 2024 awards categories can be found here

//   What submissions qualify for product, solution and services categories?

Our eligibility period spans the 12 months between Q2 2023 and Q2 2024. Your product or service must have been introduced on or after April 1, 2023, to qualify for the 2024 Leading Lights Awards. 

In general, we're looking for the very best from the industry during the past 12 months, but if you're worried about missing the cutoff by a week or two, please let us know and we will sort it out.

If your product or service wasn't shortlisted last year, but is still eligible this year, you may enter it again. But please be sure to highlight the changes and advancements that happened since.

 // Category-specific guidance for The Leading Lights:

Most Innovative RAN Product or Solution

We encourage entrants of all kinds, including technologies and solutions for private wireless networks, macro and mass market cellular coverage, stadium and large venues, and greenfield open RAN networks.

Outstanding Use Case: Networked Edge

For network service providers, this category includes distributed and dedicated edge solutions developed in collaboration with hyperscalers.

Outstanding Use Case: RAN Deployment

We welcome entries that explain how they used technology and creative problem-solving to satisfy their customers and provide verifiable benefits to end users.

Outstanding Use Case: Network and Service Automation

This category can include uses of SASE (SD-WAN and SSE) and AI and machine learning, if relevant.

Outstanding Use Case: Driving Digital Transformation 

Examples may include using data-driven results to improve the customer experience, helping adopt and use cloud-native tools and architectures, effectively using or helping others embrace SaaS delivery models, and, of course, using AI and machine learning to harness disparate data sources to deliver a meaningful business result.

Additional Questions

//   What information from my entries will be released to the public?

We do not publish awards entries. If you are a Finalist or Winner, the title of your entry (product name, executive's name, etc.), as well as company name, will be shared with our audiences. 

However, we reserve the right to use any of the information disclosed in your submission, especially product claims and verifiable market share and sales statistics, in our reporting. Rest assured, we will be respectful of your company and responsible to our readers. We will contact you to verify anything we aim to report that's not readily available in the public domain. 

Any financial details provided by private companies will remain confidential and not published/released to the public domain unless approved by the submitting company.

Does my company have to be a Light Reading sponsor to win?

No, The Leading Lights is editorially independent. If we could only pick from a pool of advertisers and sponsors, some of our most remarkable and controversial selections would never have seen the light of day. 

That said, contact sales@lightreading.com to learn about how you can benefit from advertising, paid media and custom programming through Light Reading.

//   What if I have more questions?

Please send an email with the subject line “Leading Lights Question” to  marketing@lightreading.com, and we’ll respond as soon as we can. Please DO NOT email Light Reading's editors.