Vestberg volunteers for Verizon venture

In a classic poacher-turned-gamekeeper move, former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg is going to head up Verizon’s newly-formed Network and Technology team.

It might not be immediately obvious why an operator would need to hire such a senior vendor-side exec, but on further reflection Vestberg would presumably be a good ally to have during tense contract negotiations with Ericsson and the other networking vendors.

The hire is part of a general rejig at Verizon that means the company is now split into three major business units: Media & Telematics, Network & Technology, and Customer & Product Operations. Vestberg’s team is responsible for developing Verizon’s fixed and mobile networks, including the move towards 5G.

“This new structure is designed to accelerate our progress toward delivering the promise of the digital world to customers,” said Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. “It will give us greater organizational agility to continue to lead the market with our wireless and fiber services, scale and expand our media and telematics businesses, and maintain the leadership in network reliability and new technology that is a Verizon trademark.”

The Customer and Product silo is the customer-facing bit of the company and Media and Telematics seems to be a catch-all for everything else, including acquisitions such as AOL, Yahoo and Fleetmatics. But all eyes will be on Vestberg in his first move after it all went Pete Tong for him at Ericsson and whether having such a networks heavy-hitter on the team will give Verizon any advantages in the 5G/IoT era.

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