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Ericsson Boss On The Hunt For Deals

Ericsson’s chief pointed the company in the direction of potential acquisitions following a turnaround in 2018.

During the vendor’s AGM, CEO Borje Ekholm (pictured) insisted the company is leading rival vendors in commercializing 5G and highlighted its return to growth in 2018, when it generated its first full year of organic sales growth since 2013.

“Given the strong execution of the focused strategy, Ericsson is now looking to grow. This growth will be selective, disciplined and profitable. As a complement to organic growth, Ericsson will be looking at acquisitions.”

Ekholm’s comments come a month after Ericsson struck a deal to acquire Germany-based Kathrein’s antenna and filters business, a move which boosts investment in 5G antenna technology.

Ericsson also said it has hired 4,000 new engineers over the past two years, with a focus on technology leadership, and it has 49,000 granted patents.

Leading the 5G way

In a statement, the company backed-up Ekholm’s bullishness on 5G, noting it had struck 16 commercial deals “with named service provider customers for 5G networks, more than any of its competitors”. 

Major rival Nokia, however, may contest Ericsson’s claims: this week, the Finnish vendor said it has struck 30 5G deals, with the latest a deal to supply equipment to Austrian operator A1.

Huawei is also a major competitor, however some market watchers have suggested Ericsson and Nokia could benefit from ongoing security concerns around the Chinese vendor.

This, however, has not been the case so far for Ericsson.

Ekholm told Reuters the vendor was yet to enjoy an increase in contract wins over Huawei. He said its operator customers were worried about Huawei’s situation, which had led to more discussions, “but we can’t see that contracts are being allocated. That has not happened yet.”

Spectrum concerns

Addressing the European 5G position, Ekholm warned the continent risked falling behind due to slow spectrum allocation, with more than half of Europe yet to allocate licences that operators need to make the 5G networks a reality.

“The process for spectrum allocation in Europe is often aimed at maximizing the revenues from licences”, said Ekholm.

“Instead, the process should focus on the value created by a digitalized society and how that contributes to the overall competitiveness of a country.”―Mobile World Live

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