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In AI push, Telenor hires Google Cloud’s Amol Phadke as CTO

In AI push, Telenor hires Google Cloud’s Amol Phadke as CTO

In a strategic move aimed at bolstering its AI initiatives, Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor (TEL.OL) has made a significant addition to its leadership team. The company has successfully recruited Amol Phadke, a seasoned professional from Google Cloud, as its newly appointed Chief Technology Officer (CTO). This notable appointment is geared towards reinforcing Telenor’s engagement with cutting-edge technologies, particularly within the realm of artificial intelligence.

Amol Phadke brings to Telenor a wealth of experience and expertise, having most recently spearheaded Google Cloud’s telecom business. Prior to this role, Phadke garnered substantial know-how through his tenure with distinguished names in the industry, including British Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent, and Accenture’s network services division. Telenor’s CEO, Sigve Brekke, emphasized Phadke’s unique insight into the challenges associated with legacy businesses, underscoring the significance of Telenor’s continuous positioning at the forefront of technological transformation.

Notably, Telenor’s collaboration with Google Cloud began back in 2021, a partnership aimed at digitizing the company’s global operations and exploring avenues for co-providing services to their customer base. This partnership is a key component of Telenor’s ongoing strategy for digital transformation. Artificial intelligence is a pivotal aspect of this transformation, holding the potential to gather and leverage data for training predictive models that can, in turn, automate core functions within the company and its customer interactions.

CEO Brekke stressed the imperative for Telenor to prioritize rapid innovation and cultivate strategic partnerships in its journey to reshape the traditional telecommunications landscape. Despite having embraced AI a decade ago to enhance the energy efficiency of their networks, Telenor is intent on utilizing AI across all facets of their operations. This encompassing approach envisions the deployment of AI to streamline operations, introduce novel products, and enhance energy efficiency.

Phadke’s vision aligns seamlessly with Telenor’s aspirations. He envisions AI as a catalyst for operational efficiency, envisioning its application in predicting traffic demands and optimizing bandwidth allocation in areas with heightened user activity. Moreover, Phadke anticipates that AI will pave the way for more refined customer interactions, improving the overall customer experience.

It’s noteworthy that Telenor is resolute in its commitment to its workforce. Phadke affirmed that the integration of AI will not lead to job cuts. Rather, Telenor envisions AI as a tool to complement and amplify human capabilities, refraining from substituting human involvement in critical processes.

Reflecting on the broader industry landscape, Phadke acknowledged that the adoption of AI has been gradual due to the competitive and legacy-driven nature of the telecommunications sector. However, he remains optimistic about the industry’s trajectory, asserting that progress might be gradual but is undoubtedly underway.

In addition to this groundbreaking CTO appointment, Telenor has also named Petter-Boerre Furberg as the head of its pivotal Asia unit. Furberg, with his substantial experience in senior management roles within Telenor across various Asian regions, assumes this responsibility from Joergen C. Arentz Rostrup. In turn, Rostrup will take over Furberg’s former position as the head of Telenor Nordics.

Telenor’s recent achievements, including a merger of $15 billion that solidified its position in the Malaysian telecom market and an $8.6 billion deal in Thailand, underscore the company’s determination to drive strategic growth and expansion. CEO Brekke lauded Rostrup’s instrumental role in shaping the Southeast Asian telco landscape, a feat that positions him to now lead Telenor’s initiatives in the Nordics.

Telenor’s strategic recruitment of Amol Phadke as CTO reflects the company’s unwavering commitment to technological innovation, particularly in the realm of AI. This appointment aligns harmoniously with Telenor’s partnership with Google Cloud, aimed at transforming their operations through digitization. The company’s AI-driven ambitions, guided by the expertise of Phadke, emphasize the potential of AI in augmenting human efforts rather than replacing them. This move is emblematic of Telenor’s forward-thinking approach, despite the industry’s legacy constraints, and is poised to carve a unique path in the telecommunications landscape.


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