Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg took centre stage as Mobile World Congress got underway this morning by serving the tradition of giving his telecoms predictions for the year ahead.
Vestberg also presented a full picture of new products, services and solutions to support Ericsson’s customers in network evolution, process transformation and innovation, and capturing growth opportunities.
“Our heritage has been to lead the industry through its technology and business transformations,” Vestberg said. “Our journey has taken us with customers from fixed to mobile, then bringing services, and now extending to process transformation across other industries.”
A new partnership with enterprise software powerhouse SAP was announced during Vestberg’s annual press conference, as the two companies prepare to jointly market and sell cloud-based M2M solutions and services to enterprises via operators around the globe. The solutions will be based on a combined software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering from Ericsson and SAP within M2M.
Better connectivity and consumer demands are together driving continuous innovation in the industry, according to Vestberg, who identified the main trends for 2013 as increased intelligence in devices, the drive to transform networks and processes, and OSS and BSS systems. At the foundation is a continued desire from consumers for superior network quality and performance, he said.
“By the end of 2013, more than 50% of phone shipments will be smartphones, driven by more affordable models,” he revealed, noting that users appreciate having apps and data seamlessly available on multiple devices. The cross-communication between machines, people, and content is changing the way we as humans behave, and the way service providers do business, he added.
Vestberg said the industry will see more pricing models – tiered, shared, and bundled, as well as further expansion into digital services to find new revenues.
“As we have the Internet in our pockets, our virtual and real worlds are coming together,” he said. “Online interaction enriches our living, working and entertainment and breaks down barriers of time and place. By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile Internet users than fixed Internet users.”
Adding another prediction that 2013 will be the year LTE subscriptions exceed 100 million, Vestberg emphasised LTE’s ability to deliver high-quality content, especially video, without buffering.
The launch of LTE Broadcast is Ericsson’s new offering for operators and their media partners to capture new revenues, by providing premium services with guaranteed quality and cost-efficient delivery over LTE. Vestberg announced during the press conference that Verizon Wireless and Telstra are already signed on with the solution.
By the end of Q4 2012, Ericsson had supplied more than 60 live commercial LTE networks on all continents, Vestberg revealed. About 50% of all smartphone traffic on LTE runs through Ericsson networks.
He is also pointed to an additional proof point of Ericsson’s LTE leadership as its support of Telefónica’s live demonstrations in Barcelona of several complex technologies and behaviours – 4G handover to Wi-Fi, voice over LTE (VoLTE), and integration across several vendors and technology standards.
“This really proves our commitment to our customer, where Telefónica is one of the world’s largest operators with a strategy to meet the growing demands of their subscribers,” he said.
“Thanks to daily work that our customers entrust us with around the world, we continue to evolve our combined offerings. All our focus is on providing the right technology, services and solutions to our customers so that we together can shape the networked society.”