Ericsson, in its opening-day media and analyst briefing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, asserted its leadership in technology and services in an increasingly data-centric world.
The company’s President and CEO Hans Vestberg recapped 2013, when more than 55% of all phone shipments were smartphones and LTE subscriptions reached 200 million. Vestberg says: “The early days of the Networked Society are here. We use our smartphones to work, live, and entertain ourselves in more powerful ways every day. That demands networks that provide superior performance, and our leadership across generations of technology – from fixed to wireless to LTE-Advanced and, in the future, 5G – contributes to our ability to deliver that to our customers.”
New measurements from Ericsson show that half of all LTE smartphone traffic goes through Ericsson networks and the company is ranked number one for LTE market share in the world’s top 100 cities.
Additionally, the company’s number one position in Services is extended with a new launch of Telecom Cloud Transformation, which provides consulting and systems integration for operators. With 43% of Ericsson’s sales coming from Services, the business area is playing a key role in the company’s own transformation.
While the world becomes more data-centric, networks are undergoing IT and telecom convergence. Evidence of Ericsson’s continuous focus on IP and industry-leading network technology and services is the recent announcement of the strategic agreement with packet optical-network provider Ciena. Mobile and fixed systems require a superior transport network, and IP -optical convergence plays a key role in this transition.. The agreement allows Ericsson to grasp this growth opportunity by strengthening its portfolio with integration between Ciena’s optical technology and Ericsson’s IP and SDN technology.
During 2013, Ericsson launched a game-changing product for indoor coverage: the Ericsson Radio Dot System, which was endorsed by customers AT&T and Verizon. Vestberg named additional customers, who have committed to trialing the Radio Dot System in their home markets: MTN, SingTel, Softbank and, Swisscom, Telstra and Vodafone.
He outlined Ericsson’s strategic moves and launches this year that support customers in three categories: network evolution, OSS/BSS and process transformation, and innovation and revenue growth.
Onstage guests highlighted business deals in each category. Verizon CTO Tony Melone spoke about network evolution, describing the progress made since last year’s announcement about LTE Broadcast and discussing the importance of boosting indoor coverage with solutions like the Ericsson Radio Dot System.
In the innovation and revenue growth area, Vestberg was joined onstage by the CEO of Philips to announce the Zero Site, an innovative LED lamp post that allows city officials to rent space to service providers for mobile broadband equipment.
An important change in the industry and for Ericsson has been the continued development and market growth of OSS and BSS solutions, which help service providers launch applications faster (from months to days or hours) and enable real-time analytics to support operators in ensuring superior customer experiences. Having strengthened its position in the area Ericsson’s leading position was reaffirmed by a new deal announced with North American operator CenturyLink. Service Agility from Ericsson will allow CenturyLink to improve the customer experience via product consolidation, system transformation and network simplification.
Vestberg described five new trends for 2014: Digital Lifestyle drives demand; ICT transforming industries; Data brings new business models; Customer experience in focus; and Superior network performance wins. He predicted that mobile video traffic growth would exceed 75 percent and that the global probability of getting mobile data throughput of at least 1Mbps, or sufficient app coverage, during 2014 would increase, but not enough. “We need continuous app coverage to support our new ways of living and doing business,” said Vestberg.
Ericsson’s Johan Wibergh, head of Business Unit Networks, will discuss, spectrum strategy, scalable architecture, service awareness, coordinated small cells and latest software at a GSMA speech on Wednesday, February 26 in Barcelona. Wibergh will explain how the question from service providers to consumers should shift from whether they have coverage, to whether they have the right coverage for the apps they love and use. He said: “More than one billion devices were added to telecom and data networks during 2012. Meanwhile, the number of apps downloaded from the two major app stores skyrocketed more than 100%. The challenge for operators is not just to handle more usage, but different needs.”
Ericsson CTO Ulf Ewaldsson will appear on a Monday evening panel about Ericsson’s role as a founding member of internet dot org, to bring internet to the 3.5 million people in the world without access, while Chief Marketing Officer Arun Bhikshesvaran will speak about the future of voice services, also on Wednesday.