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Vodafone Hires NFV Specialist to Develop Group Virtualization Strategy

Ray Le Maistre

Vodafone has hired David Amzallag, a former Alcatel-Lucent and Amdocs executive who has specialized in NFV developments, to head up its group-wide network virtualization strategy, Light Reading has learned.

Amzallag, who was part of the CloudBand NFV infrastructure (NFVi) team at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) until late 2014, has been appointed as head of network virtualization, SDN and NFV with responsibility for developing a next-generation technology and transformation strategy for all of Vodafone's operating units across more than 25 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Amzallag left AlcaLu's CloudBand team at about the same time as another key member of that team, Dor Skuler, and at about the same time as a senior management reshuffle. (See Gorti to Pull the NFV Strings at Alcatel-Lucent.)

Amazallag is believed to be reporting to Mauro Costa, the operator's director, core and transport competence center, and also working closely with Matt Beal, Vodafone's director, innovation & architecture. (See Vodafone Steals CenturyLink's CTO .)

Both Beal and Costa are bullish about the potential of NFV and SDN and eager to implement a group-wide implementation, Light Reading understands.

Amzallag confirmed to Light Reading that he had joined the operator but that he couldn't elaborate on his role currently. Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) confirmed that Amzallag joined the operator this month and reports to Costa, but said there was nothing more to add about his role or Vodafone's virtualization strategy.

For more NFV-related coverage and insights, check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

The appointment signals a step up in Vodafone's efforts to transform its network architecture and gain the benefits that a more cloud-oriented network infrastructure could bring to a company with many different operating units that increasingly include fixed-line and cable as well as mobile infrastructure assets. Defining and implementing a virtualization strategy looks to be vital for Vodafone as it invests heavily in its networks as part of its Project Spring initiative: The operator will not want to plan and deploy technology that is not in line with its next-generation network requirements. (See ONO Says Yes to Vodafone, Euronews: Vodafone Clears Hurdle to Kabel Bid and Vodafone Ups 'Project Spring' Capex to $11B+.)

Other operators with a similar organizational set-up -- a central group function with multiple individual operating units -- are making efforts to find commonalities and synergies that can create efficiencies and drive the development of new services using SDN, NFV and cloud technologies: Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Telekom Austria and Orange are just some examples. (See NFV: Ready for Prime Time, Telekom Austria Builds Multi-Vendor NFV 4G Core , Orange Unveils NFV-Based Offering for SMBs, CEO Chat With Axel Clauberg, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Taps HP for Unica NFV.)

Vodafone has been involved in NFV developments since the formation of the ETSI NFV industry specification group in late 2012, but to date has not been very vocal about its strategy or engagements. (See Carriers Peer Into Virtual World and Vodafone Builds MVNO on Elephant Talk SDN.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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