Paul E. Jacobs

Paul E. Jacobs
Associated organizations
Fields of study
Edison Achievement Award, GSMA Chairman’s award


The mobile innovations of Paul E. Jacobs have been integral to the success of the communications industry and have transformed how we use and share information. A leader in the field for over two decades, Dr. Jacobs recognized early on that the true power of the mobile phone was its potential for data and not just voice. As architect of Qualcomm’s vision, Dr. Jacobs introduced innovations that simplified mobility. He saw the importance of bringing together standard computing, directional/sensor capabilities, and office productivity in a single mobile device. He also recognized consumer interest in having mobile access to entertainment and gaming content on the small screen. Among the groundbreaking work developed under his direction, Dr. Jacobs introduced GPS capabilities, technology for over-the-air downloading of applications, and push-to-talk functionality to mobile phones. The reflective display technology developed under Dr. Jacobs improves screen visibility in sunlight and helps maximize battery life. He also introduced solutions to handle spectrum-sharing problems. Small cells are starting to bring the network closer to users, adding capacity where it is needed most. Video downloading is smoother, thanks to technologies that improve the way video is transmitted. And carrier aggregation systems are making 3G and 4G LTE connections faster. Dr. Jacobs has also been a proponent of mobile health initiatives. He sees them as being crucial to lowering healthcare costs and outcomes, and empowering patients. In 2005 when Dr. Jacobs became CEO, there were only a handful of smartphones, and about 309 million 3G connections. Today nearly one billion smartphones are sold each year, and there are about 2.4 billion 3G and 4G connections.

An IEEE Member and recipient of the Edison Achievement Award (2013) and GSMA Chairman’s award (2014), Dr. Jacobs is executive chairman with Qualcomm. Inc., San Diego, CA, USA. Jacobs was the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Ernst Weber Managerial Leadership Award.