Sweden’s Ericsson signs its biggest deal ever

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has signed a deal worth 8.3 billion dollars (72 billion kronor) to provide US operator Verizon with 5G equipment – the single largest deal in its history.

Sweden's Ericsson signs its biggest deal ever
Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm. Photo: Lars Schröder/TT

Ericsson also said that its second quarter net profit had jumped by 51 percent, but noted a sharp decline in sales in China after rival Huawei was barred from selling its equipment in Sweden.

“It is prudent to forecast a materially lower market share in Mainland China for Networks and Digital Services as the earlier decision to exclude Chinese vendors from the Swedish 5G networks might influence market share awards,” Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm was quoted as saying.

In the United States, the group “signed another five-year contract, this one amounting to $8.3 billion, with a leading customer. This is the single largest deal in the history of Ericsson”, the earnings statement said.

Ericsson is battling Huawei and the Finnish neighbour Nokia, among others, for fifth-generation (5G) contracts, and China and the US are huge markets for their equipment.

In June, a Swedish court struck down an appeal from Huawei against a ban in the country on security grounds, and Ericsson was bracing for retaliation from China.

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban the Chinese groups Huawei and ZTE from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G network.

Meanwhile, Ericsson posted a net profit of 3.9 billion kronor ($450 million) for the second quarter of 2021, a jump of 51 percent from the same period in 2020 that was marked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ericsson’s sales slipped however by one percent to 54.9 billion kronor owing notably to a drop of 2.5 billion kronor in China from the same period a year earlier.

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