Verizon’s Kyle Malady touches on net neutrality while talking about his new job

LAS VEGAS — Kyle Malady, CEO of Verizon Business, who spoke on stage at MWC Americas yesterday, was asked about the new (or old) topic in the U.S. telecom world — net neutrality. Earlier this week, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel released a proposal to reinstate net neutrality regulations.

Malady said the FCC has flipped back and forth on net neutrality over the years. In his view net neutrality wasn’t needed before it was instituted, it wasn’t missed after it was revoked, and it still isn’t needed.

Fierce Wireless spoke with Malady after his on-stage conversation. And we asked if net neutrality would have any impact on the prospects for network slicing. Carriers hope to make extra money by selling end-to-end slices of their mobile networks to enterprises to carry out specific use cases or to provide specific levels of service.

Malady said net neutrality rules mainly apply to the internet, and Verizon’s mobile voice and SMS services would not be governed by net neutrality. And he doesn’t think network slicing would fall under any new net neutrality regulations.

RELATED: Net neutrality back on the table: FCC's Rosenworcel takes a stand

In terms of network slicing, Malady said it wouldn’t be like throttling other users in favor of enterprises. “We think about it more as living up to SLAs,” he said.

But the whole topic of network slicing is not that urgent for Verizon at this time, anyway, because network slicing requires a standalone (SA) 5G network, and neither Verizon nor AT&T have full 5G SA networks, yet.

In fact, Malady said, “We’re only testing standalone right now. It’s just making sure we have all the technology aligned along with the devices. We’re doing POCs and testing and making sure we can orchestrate everything. There’s no compelling use case for Verizon overall to go after standalone right now.”



Meanwhile, T-Mobile, which does have a 5G SA network, announced this week that its network slicing capabilities are available to developers nationwide.

Verizon Business

Malady took over as CEO of Verizon Business in March. Prior to that he was head of Verizon’s Global Networks & Technology. Yesterday, he was asked on stage how his extensive network experience would help him lead the Business group.

He said his network technology background really helps when he talks to CIOs of enterprises. “When I sit down with CIOs I feel their pain. I can have a discussion with them about not only what’s going on now but what I think is going on down the road.”

In terms of the executive shuffling that happened at Verizon in March, Malady said, “It was kind of: let’s get back to some of our knitting and growth. We lost a little ground, coming out of Covid. My focus is driving profitable growth and net additions and fixed wireless access.”

He touted the arrangement Verizon Business made in August with the Indian company HCLTech, making HCLTech its primary managed network services partner. “They have a great technical stack, and they do a lot of fundamental engineering work,” he said.

Verizon Business also this year notched a five-year deal with the National Football League (NFL) to deliver a managed private wireless solution across each of the 30 U.S. NFL stadiums. The private wireless networks provide support for coach-to-coach communications on the field.

Malady said there are more coaches at games than many fans realize, and they’re not all on the sidelines of the field. He said coach-to-coach communications are “the critical link to run the plays.” Before the private wireless networks, the coaches were using really old technologies, like CB radios that were sometimes wheeled around and connected by cables.