Dish’s Stephen Bye leaves for connectivity post at Ziff Davis

Stephen Bye, who has been serving as chief commercial officer of Dish Networks’ facilities-based wireless network business since 2019, is leaving that role to be president of the Connectivity division at Ziff Davis.

He will report to Vivek Shah, CEO of Ziff Davis, and be part of the executive leadership team that oversees Ookla, Ekahau, RootMetrics and related properties. His first day at Ziff Davis will be January 23.

Stephen Bye
Dish named Stephen Bye to its board effective January 18. (Dish)

Bye is a familiar face in the wireless industry, most recently serving in the development and deployment of Dish’s standalone 5G network.

During Dish’s most recently quarterly earnings call, Bye talked about the momentum building in the private 5G-as-a-service space and the importance of Dish’s licensed spectrum in multiple bands in terms of competing against the unlicensed Wi-Fi and CBRS GAA solutions in that market.

He also spoke during Dish’s Analyst Day last spring about ways the company can make money from private wireless, including through the use of licensed CBRS spectrum.

To be sure, Bye isn’t leaving Dish altogether. Coinciding with the job change, Dish announced today that Bye will join the Dish Board of Directors, effective January 18. Other members of the board include Kathleen Q. Abernathy and Charlie and Candy Ergen.

"Stephen has been an integral part of building our wireless business, helping lead efforts to maximize our wireless efforts and prepare us to monetize our investments," said Dish Network co-founder and Chairman Charlie Ergen in a statement. "His continued leadership and guidance while serving on the board will be important as we continue to build our wireless network and disrupt the consumer and business wireless markets."

Fierce reached out to Dish about Bye’s replacement and will update this article with any new information.

"Dish is well positioned to redefine wireless at the retail, enterprise and wholesale levels with the company's standalone 5G network," Bye said in a statement. "The Dish 5G network will be invaluable for economic development in the U.S. I am honored to be joining the board and continuing to be a part of what will be one of the greatest telecom achievements in the years to come."

Prior to Dish, Bye was CEO of Connectivity Wireless, a provider of carrier-grade in-building and venue-based wireless systems. Before that, he was president of regional wireless and broadband provider C Spire.

He also was chief technology officer at Sprint, where he oversaw the deployment of its LTE network. Earlier in his career, he held senior roles at Cox Communications, AT&T, Optus Communications and Telstra.

Ziff Davis wireless properties 

Some folks may know Ziff Davis as a publisher of trade magazines, and it’s still owner of digital publications like the PCMag. But in recent years it’s made some other acquisitions in the wireless space. For example, in 2014, Ziff Davis acquired Ookla, provider of the Speedtest mobile and broadband speed testing site. In 2018, it acquired Finnish wireless design firm Ekahau, and in 2021, it acquired RootMetrics.

“Stephen is a visionary in the telecommunications industry with three decades of experience across wireless, cable, and wireline providers,” Shah said in a statement. “He’s ideally suited to lead our Connectivity business which is a premier provider of network and service intelligence, network design and optimization, and connectivity insights.”