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CES: Verizon Wireless Names Zafar CTO For MSO Joint Venture

Shadman Zafar, who previously headed product development for Verizon Communications, has moved into a new role as chief technology officer for the carrier's involvement in the joint venture with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.

Last month Verizon Wireless announced a landmark agreement with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House, under which the MSOs are proposing to sell the carrier 122 AWS licenses for $3.6 billion. Cox announced a similar deal with Verizon Wireless, with a proposal to sell its AWS holdings for $315 million.

Also under the deals, the cable companies will resell Verizon Wireless products and services and vice versa, and they will engage in joint development. The agreements have not yet been approved by regulators.

In his new role, Zafar will act as Verizon Wireless' liaison to the JV, which is charged with providing technology development for new products and capabilities that span wireless and wireline networks. The organization will likely be based in Piscataway, N.J. The number of Verizon Wireless and MSO personnel who will be dedicated to the JV has yet to be determined but Zafar said there is a "sizable investment" from the companies.

"Each of the companies is investing a lot in our core areas," Zafar said in an interview here at CES. "We see a lot of opportunities at the seams of our industries to create new use cases."

For example, Verizon Wireless and the MSOs are looking at delivering live TV to mobile devices out of the home, and delivering video communications over 4G using tablets. Already, the companies have specified several dozen capabilities they want the joint group to explore.

Ultimately the joint entity will create "actual products that will be rolled out," Zafar said.

Verizon's FiOS group is also a part of the joint development group, on the same footing as the four MSOs, Zafar added.

Zafar, who started in the new role at the first of the year, formerly was senior vice president of product development for Verizon Telecom reporting to CTO Tony Melone.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and the U.K.'s Vodafone.