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TELECOM

AT&T picks Ericsson for 4G network

US telecoms giant AT&T has selected Sweden's Ericsson and France's Alcatel-Lucent as equipment suppliers for its next-generation, high-speed mobile phone network, the companies said on Wednesday.

The selection of the two suppliers will enable field trials this year and commercial deployment of the LTE (Long Term Evolution), or 4G, technology in 2011, AT&T said in a statement.

“Our ability to work together to meet the demands of a rapidly changing market has been a crucial element in gaining AT&T’s continued confidence,” said Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg in a statement.

“We will work just as hard to secure a smooth rollout of LTE and support AT&T in introducing new consumer and business services moving forward.”

The popularity of 3G networks, which allow owners of smartphones like Apple’s iPhone to surf the internet from anywhere, has caused disruption in communications due to the ever-increasing traffic, analysts say.

LTE technology offers a higher broadband that can be as much as four times faster than 3G or 3G+ networks.

AT&T, which counts 85.1 million mobile phone clients, said its mobile broadband traffic “has grown more than 5,000 percent over the past three years.”

The US telecommunications giant announced last month that it would invest $2 billion (€1.45 billion) more this year than in 2009 to improve its 3G networks and prepare the deployment of LTE.

AT&T did not disclose details of its contract with Ericsson of Sweden and US-French company Alcatel-Lucent.

The United States and Scandinavian countries are among the leaders in LTE technology.

Nordic telecom operator TeliaSonera in December announced the launch in Stockholm and Oslo of the world’s first commercial 4G mobile network.

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SWEDEN AND UKRAINE

Ericsson suspends all Russia operations indefinitely

Swedish network equipment maker Ericsson said Monday that it was suspending all of its Russian operations over the war in Ukraine for the foreseeable future.

Ericsson suspends all Russia operations indefinitely

The telecom giant already announced in late February that it would stop all deliveries to Russia following Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“In the light of recent events and of European Union sanctions, the company will now suspend its affected business with customers in Russia indefinitely,” Ericsson said in a statement.

The company added that it was “engaging with customers and partners regarding the indefinite suspension of the affected business.”

“The priority is to focus on the safety and well-being of Ericsson employees in Russia and they will be placed on paid leave,” it said.

READ ALSO: How has Sweden responded to Putin’s war in Ukraine so far?

Hundreds of Western firms ranging from Ikea to Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s have stopped operations in the country since the invasion, with French banking group Societe Generale announcing Monday it was selling its stake in Russia’s Rosbank.

Ericsson has around 600 employees in Russia, and is a “major supplier to the largest operator MTS and the fourth largest operator Tele2,” a company spokeswoman told AFP, adding that together with Ukraine, Russia accounts for less than two percent of revenue.

As a result, the equipment maker said it would record a provision for 900 million Swedish kronor ($95 million, 87 million euros) for the first quarter of 2022 for “impairment of assets and other exceptional costs,” though no staff redundancy costs were included.
Ericsson is due to publish its first quarter earnings on April 14.

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