Hu Meena serves as president and CEO of Ridgeland-based C Spire Wireless and was one of the original nine employees when the company began as Cellular South 24 years ago. He talks exclusively to the Journal about C Spire as a leader.
Hu Meena serves as president and CEO of Ridgeland-based C Spire Wireless and was one of the original nine employees when the company began as Cellular South 24 years ago. He talks exclusively to the Journal about C Spire as a leader.
RIDGELAND - Madison County is expected to be among the first places C Spire Wireless rolls out its next generation of wireless technology that will bring higher-speed mobile broadband services in a $60 million investment announced last week at its headquarters here.

C Spire released details last Thursday on its plans to introduce 4G LTE (Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution) high-speed mobile broadband services this fall in a conference call with the media.

Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire Wireless, in an exclusive interview on Wednesday with the Madison County Journal at his headquarters at 300 Renaissance at Colony Park, talked about the telcom firm that employs more than 280 at the headquarters being a leader in the field.

"In telecommunications, especially wireless voice and data, C Spire has been a leader and an innovator," Meena said. "We've enjoyed many 'firsts' in the industry and are continuing to aggressively provide the best service possible for our customers."

What will 4G LTE do for subscribers, especially those in Madison County?

Meena said 4G LTE is the next evolution of wireless technology, offering small businesses in Madison County and elsewhere "a myriad of ways to take advantage of the advanced high-speed mobile broadband services to grow their business or offer more cost-effective services."

He said by offering speedier versions of real-time group meetings from remote locations, video conference, mobile credit card payments, lightning-fast downloads and access to thousands of business apps, 4G LTE promises to create "a more level playing field for small business success and growth."

Meena said employees can complete tasks in the field, increase efficiency and face time with customers, and real-time videoconferencing saves businesses substantial travel costs.

Madison County is expected to be in the rollout in September, along with 19 other Mississippi markets.

"But not all 4G is created equal," Meena added. "That's why C Spire is rolling our LTE, the gold standard of the next generation of high-speed wireless broadband technology. And our commitment is to offer 4G LTE in more places and sooner than other companies in our footprint."

For C Spire, 2011 was a breakout year, as the company changed its name from Cellular South while also changing its business model to focus on personalized service. The company added the popular iPhone 4S to its arsenal in the final months of 2011.

"2011 was a milestone year for our company with an historic brand change, introduction of personalized wireless services and our decision to sell the iPhone 4S, becoming only the fourth U.S. wireless provider to offer the iconic smartphone," Meena said. "What's driving all these changes? We've entered a new era in wireless centered broadband networks, mobile computing devices and personalized services.

"Completing calls is only a small part of what we now deliver for our customers," he continued. "Through personalized wireless we are carving out a distinct niche linked to personalized app recommendations - SCOUT - one-of-a-kind reward programs - PERCS - and all of our other services that add up to why customers initially choose C Spire and then stay with us."

C Spire has made a commitment to Mississippi and a positive economic impact has been the result. There are approximately 280 employees at the Ridgeland corporate headquarters and another 145 at the Ridgeland Operations Center.

The Ridgeland Operations Center cost $2 million. Over $110 million was spent on the Ridgeland corporate headquarters and the company's downtown Jackson Technical Operations Center.

"Since 2003, C Spire has paid more than $436 million in wages, salaries and benefits to its workforce and $198 million to vendors and contractors, resulting in a $1 billion incremental positive economic impact on local, state and regional economies," Meena said. "When coupled with $298 million in sales, use and property tax payments, and state and federal communications, and 911 surcharges paid since 2006, the overall incremental positive economic impact on the public and private sector grows to $1.5 billion."

This also includes the philanthropic side of C Spire, which has donated millions of dollars in grants towards educational opportunities and building communities.

"We always remember and never lose sight of the fact that we are a Mississippi-based company and that our roots run deep in the communities we serve," Meena said.