Vestberg at shareholder meeting: "Telecom important for society"
2010 - breakthrough for mobile broadband. Number of subscriptions expected to surpass 1 billion this year; 5 billion by 2016
Strong position; world's 5th largest software company; strong in services
Ericsson extends its technology leadership
At Ericsson's (NASDAQ: ERIC) Annual General Meeting of shareholders today at the Ericsson Globe annex, President and CEO Hans Vestberg spoke to the shareholders among other things about the importance of telecom in the development of society as a whole, how communications services are broadening, and about Ericsson's position on the market.
2010 was the year mobile broadband broke through. Today we have exceeded 500 million mobile broadband subscriptions, and before the end of 2011, there will be one billion subscriptions. Growth continues and by 2016, there are expected to be five billion subscriptions.
Hans Vestberg presented the results for 2010, and spoke about the natural catastrophes during 2010 which illuminated the importance of telecommunications during crises and rescue efforts. After the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, Ericsson Response completed one of its longest and largest field activities since the volunteer organization started assisting the United Nations in emergency situations in 2000.
Ericsson works continuously and intensively with its customers during crises, and is currently assisting its customers in Japan in order to quickly assure that mobile networks are functioning. Fredrik Alatalo, President of Ericsson Japan, joined the shareholder meeting via video conference, live from Tokyo.
Vestberg underscored the focus on being first in driving new technology, and in seeing to it that Ericsson drives standards that the telecom industry builds on. Patents and trade in licensing contracts generate income for the company. Ericsson has 27,000 granted patents and during last year invested SEK 30 billion in research and development.
Ericsson's prize for Inventor of the Year was awarded during the meeting. Hans Vestberg welcomed Muhammad Kazmi, Robert Baldemair and Jacob Österling onstage to receive the recognition. The three inventors have sought a total of 234 patents on Ericsson's behalf. Kazmi and Baldemair worked on inventions that led to patents in LTE. Österling is one of the main architects of the multi-standard radio base station RBS 6000, one of Ericsson's most successful product launches on the market.
As a concrete example of how society and business are changing with telecoms, Vestberg welcomed another guest on stage. Magnus Bergman, Chief Technical Officer for the Swedish paper company SCA, spoke about using operator Net1's network for its data traffic. SCA has been able to do business in remote forest areas more efficiently, improving quality, planning, and productivity, with the help of mobile broadband.
Vestberg concluded his speech for the shareholders by underlining the development within the telecom industry and pointed out that it took 100 years to build one billion fixed telephone lines, but only 25 years to reach more than five billion mobile subscriptions. Today, mobile systems cover some 85% of the world's population. Mobile broadband continues to grow and that creates new opportunities for Ericsson to expand its business to new industries, for example governments and companies within healthcare, transport, utilities, and within mobile money services.
"It is clear that Ericsson will continue to be the driver in this market. We are strong and confident. We defend and extend our technology leadership, our market leadership and our power of innovation. And so we have a solid foundation for continued strong financial development," concluded Hans Vestberg.
Notes to editors:
Our multimedia content is available at the broadcast room: www.ericsson.com/broadcast_room
Ericsson is the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.
Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the "prime driver in an all-communicating world" through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 90,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 203.3 billion (USD 28.2 billion) in 2010. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.
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