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Ericsson predicts mobile broadband boom

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13:30 CEST+02:00
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg has said the company number of mobile broadband users worldwide will grow from 400 million presently to 3.5 billion by 2015.

The company has good long-term growth prospects, Vestberg said, predicting that the company will work to grow at a faster pace than the market.

"We have just seen the beginning of the massive data growth, driven by smartphones and other mobile devices," Vestberg said in a press release issued on Wednesday, its Capital Markets Day.

"These new devices provide operators with new charging capabilities. As a consequence, we are beginning to see signs of changed operator tariffs and pricing models aligned to consumer needs, especially for mobile broadband services and data usage. It's important for us to follow this development."

Vestberg, who became the company's president and CEO on January 1st, said that converged networks is an area where the company intends to continue investing.

"In the developed world, where the networks have been up and running for quite a long period, we will see operators modernise their infrastructure not only to meet increased data usage, but also to reduce power consumption and use frequencies better," he said.

Vestberg spoke of new opportunities in telecom services beyond traditional telecom operators, including those within the cable and television, health care, transportation and utilities industries, as well as with governments. He added that that competition is becoming more complex for consumers, who have increasingly advanced demands.

"We will see new business models emerging and so-called competition among operators, where they will share platforms and build scale together around applications," he said.

"Less than five percent of the world's population has access to 21 Mbit/s or more in the air, at least 1.5 million installed GSM radio base stations must be replaced and we see continued need for services in fields such as consulting, system integration and managed services," he added. "We estimate that our addressable market, including joint ventures, is worth $350 billion."

Ericsson also elaborated on the Indian and Chinese mobile markets. Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli, whose company is India's largest cellular service provider and whose network operations are provided by Ericsson, said the number of mobile subscriptions in India grew by 20 million in March, making it the fastest-growing market in the world.

Mats H. Olsson, head of Ericsson in China and northeast Asia, expressed optimism about his market via video link.

"Mainland China added more than 100 million subscriptions last year and we expect similar numbers in 2010," he said. "Non-voice revenues now make up 30 percent of Chinese operators' total revenues and one of our focus areas for this year is deployment of TD-LTE in China and LTE in Japan and Korea. We also see further opportunities to increase our GSM footprint in mainland China."

Angel Ruiz, head of Ericsson North America, highlighted by video link that the company's acquisition of Nortel has helped it win every LTE contract announced in North America and gain access to 50 percent of the market it could not approach previously.

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