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Cable Tech

Belal Hamzeh takes over role as CableLabs' convergence champion

CableLabs wasted little time in filling a gap in its mobile convergence repertoire that appeared after Mariam Sorond left the organization to become chief technology officer of VMware's service provider and edge business.

Belal Hamzeh, the former VP of wireless and mobile before being promoted to senior vice president and chief technology officer at CableLabs in 2019, has reassumed responsibility for the organization's wireless and mobile convergence initiatives, a CableLabs official tells Light Reading.

Louisville, Colorado-based CableLabs has embarked on several initiatives focused on mobile network and service convergence.
  (Source: CableLabs. Used with permission.)
Louisville, Colorado-based CableLabs has embarked on several initiatives focused on mobile network and service convergence.
(Source: CableLabs. Used with permission.)

That responsibility extends to two major convergence-related projects that were formed under Sorond roughly a year ago: The Convergence Council and the Mobile Convergence Committee (MCC). The Convergence Council is an advisory board largely made up of suppliers and connectivity vendors tasked with identifying convergence use cases. The MCC, a group comprised of various cable and mobile operators, is focused on developing industry requirements for networks focused on the convergence architecture and its specifications.

Both groups were put together to help the cable engineers and technologists engage with the mobile community as the industry continues to rally around virtualized, cloud-native networks as well as open networks, including those based on open RAN.

"We felt it was very necessary to do something comprehensive like this and have these groups collaborate and talk to each other," Sorond, formerly CableLabs' chief research and development officer, explained at the time.

Convergence projects have taken other forms at CableLabs. Last year, Kyrio, a wholly owned subsidiary of CableLabs, launched Adaptive Route Control (ARC), a software-powered platform designed to help cable operators and mobile network operators (MNOs) route customer traffic to the best available fixed or wireless network.

Cable's mobile momentum

All of that activity has taken shape as strategies for network and service convergence become key priorities for cable operators, and as the number of cable operators with a hand in the mobile game continues to rise.

While several cable operators, such as Canada's Rogers Communications, are mobile network operators (MNOs) in their own right, others, such as Comcast, Charter Communications, Altice USA and, more recently, WideOpenWest have entered the market through a blend of MVNO agreements.

For US cable operators, the strategy to bundle mobile with high-margin home broadband service is making progress. According to MoffettNathanson, US cable drove 29.2% of domestic wireless industry phone line net adds in Q4 2021. Comcast, Charter Communications and Altice USA combined to add a record 697,000 mobile lines in the period, ending 2021 with a combined 7.73 million. WOW is nearing the launch of a mobile service that's being developed in partnership with Reach Mobile.

Sorond, a former Dish Network executive and mobile industry vet, joined CableLabs as SVP and chief research and development officer in August 2019.

VMware last week announced that Sorond joined the cloud computing and virtualization specialist as chief technology officer of its service provider and edge business unit on March 28. Sorond, who is now based out of Reston, Virginia, noted that she joined the vendor as it "sits at a crossroads" of new technologies that will shape the future of telecom, including multi-cloud operations, disaggregation, open interfaces and automation.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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