U.S. telco launches nationwide LTE-M network.

Verizon on Friday announced it has hired former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg as executive vice president of its new network and technology unit, one of three new teams created by the U.S. telco.

Vestberg, who left Ericsson under a cloud last July, will from 3 April be tasked with further developing Verizon’s fibre-centric networks. He will move to the U.S. from Sweden later this spring; he will report to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

The other two new divisions are Media and Telematics, and Customer and Product Operations.

"This new structure is designed to accelerate our progress toward delivering the promise of the digital world to customers," said McAdam.

"It will give us greater organisational agility to continue to lead the market with our wireless and fibre services, scale and expand our media and telematics businesses, and maintain the leadership in network reliability and new technology that is a Verizon trademark," he said.

Marni Walden, who currently serves as Verizon’s president of product innovation and new business, will lead Media and Telematics, focusing on integrating, scaling and growing the telco’s portfolio of digital media and telematics assets. These include the likes of AOL, Yahoo, as well as Hughes Telematics, Fleetmatics, and Telogis.

Finally, John Stratton, president of operations, will head up Customer and Product operations. This division will be responsible for Verizon’s ongoing businesses, including Verizon Wireless, Enterprise Solutions, Partner Solutions, Consumer Markets and Business Markets. These businesses generate more than $120 million in annual revenue and serve more than 120 million customers.

As well as growing these core businesses, Stratton will also accelerate Verizon’s shift to a digital-first model, and be in charge of IoT products and services.

The restructuring was announced a day after Verizon switched on what it claims is the U.S.’s first nationwide LTE Category M1 (LTE-M) IoT network.

The network spans 2.4 million square miles, and will be used to support use cases such as smart metering and asset tracking, among others.

Price plans start at $2 per month per device, but customised tariffs are available in the case of bulk activations and volume purchases, Verizon said.

"As the natural shift from CDMA-based IoT solutions to the more robust and cloud-based LTE technology occurs, it’s important we stay ahead of that technology evolution for our customers so we can continue to provide them service on the best and most advanced wireless network," said Mike Haberman, Verizon’s network vice president. "Our commercial deployment of the nationwide LTE Cat M1 network does just that."