Ericsson’s incoming CEO Borje Ekholm on his first day at the helm said the company is weathering a “period of intense change” and is only just embarking on the mobility journey the advent of 5G will bring.
In a Monday blog post, Ekholm said the company was prepared to take the “exciting step” to next generation technology, and will return to success by positioning itself at the “forefront” of 5G advances.
“As a company and an industry we are going through a period of intense change,” Ekholm commented. “Our job is to ensure that Ericsson emerges as an even stronger leader, providing the industry and our customers with superior products, services, and solutions. We will ensure that Ericsson remains at the forefront of technological development – across all parts of our portfolio and markets. Our task is to make our customers successful, which in turn will make us successful.”
Ekholm’s entrance comes after the deposition of former head Hans Vestberg in July in the wake of an 11 percent year-over-year decline in sales and a 26 percent decline in net income in the second quarter.
Both then and in the more recent third quarter, Ericsson has struggled with sliding sales, income, and margins thanks to slack demand for mobile broadband and other “negative industry trends.” As part of its effort to mitigate the impact of the declines, the company has been slashing its workforce, cutting some 8,000 employees in the first half of the year and announcing plans in October to cut an additional 3,000 positions from its Swedish workforce.
As noted by Ekholm, though, the company is seeking to pivot to 5G as an engine for future growth and is already hard at work with carriers across the globe on next generation technology.
Stateside, Ericsson is one of the vendors working with Verizon on its pre-commercial fixed wireless 5G trial and with AT&T on its 5G business trial with Intel, and has had a hand in numerous other 5G trials with U.S. carriers including T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular.
In an interview ahead of CES this year, Ericsson CTO Glenn Laxdal noted the company is completing its early work on 5G with an eye to future. The software Ericsson is developing for these initial 5G components, he said, will be “completely upgradable” to the standards-based 5G system that will be fully defined in the mid-2018 timeframe.
Filed Under: Infrastructure