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Ericsson CEO Vaunts 5G Progress, Eyes M&A

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Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm laid out the company’s claim to 5G superiority, boasting the most commercial contracts signed at end-2019, a broader patent portfolio and largest number of devices supported by any vendor.

In a statement published in its annual report, Ekholm said it was in a clear leadership position after “doubling down” on R&D investment and providing a solid foundation for continued success.

Growth in the new network technology, he added, had been faster than expected with unprecedented demand for consumer applications and continued vast potential in enterprise.

Ericsson claims to have the most devices certified to work on its network equipment and a leading share of “potentially standard-essential” patents.

“Thanks to our early and significant investment in R&D, Ericsson has the world’s leading patent portfolio in cellular technology,” he added, pointing to the conclusions from a study by an independent law company.

Which of the major vendors is leading in terms of 5G and related commercial contracts is regularly disputed. Huawei and Ericsson have both claimed outright leadership positions numerous times over the last two years.

By the end of 2019 Ericsson had 78 5G contracts in place, though at the time of writing (3 March) the tally is 81. In February, Huawei said it had 91 commercial deals in place, having not released formal figures for end-2019.

While Ericsson and Huawei have talked-up progress, outgoing Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri described the early 5G market as challenging, though still boasted of momentum in signing commercial agreements with 66 in place by the end of 2019.

Growth

For Ericsson as a whole, Ekholm pointed to the importance of further M&A activity, having completed the acquisition of antenna business from German company Kathrein in October 2019.

“M&A activity will continue to be an important part of our growth strategy, where we see potential value-creating portfolio-near acquisitions as enablers”, he noted.-Mobile World Live

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