Displaying items by tag: ZTE
Mobile World Congress, the world's annual gathering for the mobile industry, was held in Barcelona this year from 27 February to 2 March. As the most anticipated event of the year for the industry, thousands of people come to Spain's Mobile Capital to meet and greet industry experts, witness the latest mobile and technology announcements and trends in the sector, and to find out what the next year's technologies will be.
This year's MWC event saw plenty of exciting releases, including phones, tablets, and other smart devices. Huawei, LG, Sony, ZTE, Nokia and even BlackBerry announced new smartphones at the event. Huawei unveiled an impressive new smartphone, the Huawei P10 and the larger P10 Plus, featuring dual Leica rear camera lenses, a longer-lasting battery and fingerprint sensor system.
Finnish startup HMD Global relaunched one of Nokia's most popular devices at MWC - the 3310 - which was first launched to the mobile phone industry 17 years ago. Nokia's 3310 is considered an iconic handset due to its incredible popularity amongst customers in the early 00's when Nokia dominated the mobile phone market. Nokia also introduced a range three new Android smartphones: the Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3.
TCL Communication launched a new high-end BlackBerry device at MWC, the KEYone, which brings back the brand's signature physical keyboard and has a larger screen than previous models. Like Nokia, BlackBerry phones will be made under license by another manufacturer.
Samsung, which didn't unveil a new smartphone, announced a premium tablet at MWC, and two all-in-one PCs at the event. The Galaxy Tab S3 is powered by Android 7.0, and now comes with an S-pen for jotting notes and sketching on the screen. The company also announced a new keyboard for the Tab S3, available as an additional purchase. With Android 7.0 installed on the Tab S3, Samsung adopted Google's multi-window mode, and quick app switching, in lieu of the company's previous TouchWiz solution.
Vendors vowing to make comebacks
On day one of Mobile World Congress, Ericsson's newly appointed CEO, Borje Ekholm, vowed to restore the Swedish company's reputation - and declared that under his guidance the organization will be at the forefront of the evolution of 5G technologies. Ekholm was appointed as the new CEO in October 2016, but didn't officially become CEO until January 16. He replaced Hans Vesterberg, who had been Ericsson's CEO for the previous seven years.
At a press briefing, Ekholm pledged to turn around Ericsson's flailing fortunes and lead them out of one of the most tumultuous periods of its history. Ericsson has endured a difficult number of years - last year the Swedish telecommunications giant was forced to axe thousands of staff in both Sweden and Italy in a desperate effort to reduce costs.
In addition, Ericsson was rocked to the core by allegations from former executives that Ericsson had allegedly bribed a string of high profile politicians across different regions in an effort to secure major contracts in those countries. Former executive Liss-Olof Nenzell handed the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents relating to the alleged kickbacks.
In defense, Ekholm delivered a passionate address at MWC, declaring that Ericsson is ready to explore 'unchartered territory' in its bid to rollout 5G technologies. Ekholm disclosed that Ericsson was making 'significant headway' and was adamant that the firm would be at the forefront of the 5G evolution.
Ekholm said: "Of course 5G has been a buzzword and nothing has really happened, right? But what you are seeing now is the momentum we are building. We are entering into a whole new market, in a way (it's) uncharted territory. We are connecting new things, this will require us to enter into new partnerships and new collaborations and new business models basically."
The CEO said there was 'real momentum' starting to build towards 5G and added that organizations ranging from network companies, to mobile phone makers, to semiconductor businesses are united in their efforts to make 5G a reality - the future of mobile internet was a key theme and prominent feature of discussions all week at MWC 2017.
Ekholm also declared that Ericsson's future will require grit and grace in an attempt to transform itself back into a global leader. Ekholm concluded by saying, "At Ericsson we're focused on setting our future direction - but the process will take a lot of grit, grace and huge amount of team work."
Another leading vendor at MWC, Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei, caused a stir at the event when it unveiled its latest smartphone with a better camera in an attempt to exploit the gap in the market left by Samsung's withdrawal of its flagship device due to problems with the battery.
Samsung was forced to recall all of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 units last October after reports emerged that the devices were catching fire and in some cases even self-combusting. The South Korean conglomerate is subsequently delaying the launch of its new flagship smartphone until later this year. Apple traditionally avoids Mobile World Congress, so that left Huawei - the world's third largest smartphone maker - with a brilliant opportunity to seize the spotlight at the show.
Huawei launched the P10 and the larger P10 Plus which feature dual Leica rear camera lenses, a longer-lasting battery and fingerprint sensor system. "The P10 and the P10 Plus will make every shot a cover shot," said Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's consumer business group, at a presentation.
The company managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of market share last year, increasing its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, according to the Gartner consultancy group. Samsung saw its market share shrink over the same period by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent.
The P10 will sell for 649 euros ($685), the P10+ will cost 799 euros. Huawei also unveiled a 'smartwatch' that contains a sportier look than the first device it introduced two years ago, targeting fitness users.
In other vendor news, Nokia delivered on its strategy to lead in 5G, IoT and cloud, tap new growth markets. On the eve of MWC, Nokia's launches of solutions covering 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), software and cloud underscored the breadth and strength of a product portfolio bolstered by the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016.
Nokia outlined how the rapid execution of its new strategy is delivering industry-leading innovation for communication service providers in network speed, agility and efficiency, while broadening the company's footprint in faster-growing areas including software and the utilities and transport markets.
"Nokia comes to Mobile World Congress this year with a bigger and fully end-to-end portfolio to sell, and with groundbreaking innovations to share," Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri said.
"All of this is underpinned by an organization squarely focused on the execution of our strategy to lead in high-performance networks with communication service providers, expand to new verticals, build a strong standalone software business and create new business and licensing opportunities in the consumer ecosystem," he added.
New products like 5G FIRST, announced at the company's press and analyst event, showed Nokia's innovation strength to deliver differentiated products that connect not only millions of users but interconnect billions of things to create what Nokia calls the 'global nervous system,' Suri added.
Nokia 5G FIRST comprises its radio access network (RAN) including Nokia AirScale massive MIMO Adaptive Antennas, packet core and mobile transport solutions as well as a full service offer using Intel architecture and the Intel 5G modem for initial deployments starting in 2017. With the introduction of 5G FIRST, operators will gain a first-to-market advantage based on early specifications. In addition, Nokia will use the lessons learned through real-world deployment to contribute to final 3GPP standardization of the technology.
While each operator has its own timeline for moving to 5G, some leading providers are eager to take advantage of the extremely high capacity and low latency connectivity it promises to deliver. To meet early-adopter demands, Nokia confirmed it will make its commercial 5G FIRST end-to-end solution available later this year.
Leveraging Nokia's end-to-end network capabilities, 5G FIRST also incorporates the multi-access Nokia Cloud Packet Core and the Nokia Shared Data Layer as part of a cloud-native core architecture to deliver the flexibility, massive scalability and performance operators need to rapidly and cost-effectively deliver 5G services.
A comprehensive array of mobile transport offerings from Nokia address the critical capacity, reliability and latency requirements of the 5G era. As a next step in a new technology collaboration with Intel, Nokia will leverage the Intel 5G modem for initial deployments of 5G FIRST to deliver ultra-broadband to the home using fixed wireless access as an alternative to existing fiber deployments.
To share insight on future innovations, Nokia also demonstrated a 5G wireless mmWave-based small cell deployment with self-backhauling capabilities. Using an innovative cloud-based mesh topology manager, it creates an in-band meshed network with self-organizing, self-healing and load-balancing capabilities.
What's more, SAP made a splash at MWC this year, demonstrating new technology to make life easier for drivers and rental car users through Internet of Things (IoT) in collaboration with Concur Technologies, Hertz and Nokia. A part of the SAP Leonardo portfolio, the SAP Vehicles Network solution creates an intelligent, automated experience - from car rental to parking and fueling location and payment, to integrated navigation and expense management for business travelers.
SAP also announced that Mojio, the connected vehicle platform and app provider for Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA, has joined SAP Vehicles Network and will provide parking and fueling through its app in the United States and Europe. SAP Vehicles Network, built on SAP Cloud Platform, enables participating network companies to provide mobility services to drivers and passengers.
By standardizing the business processes, SAP Vehicles Network enables integration and collaboration to facilitate new revenue streams and business opportunities for network members. Through the network, member companies can offer secure, convenient services - independent of devices or vehicles - such as parking, fueling and location-based food services, tailored for the business traveler or the individual consumer.
Leading operators looking to the future
Leading Qatari mobile operator Ooredoo showcased next-generation solutions and services on its pavilion at MWC, demonstrating the incredible progress it has made in recent years. The company took visitors on a journey from the days of voice and text through to the super-connected era of 4.5G and 5G now made possible by Ooredoo's advanced Supernet technologies.
Using a special video demonstration of 5G-enabled robotics, Ooredoo showed the faster and smoother performance of Ooredoo 5G and the potential for Internet of Things applications, with the reduced latency and high-speed network enabling real-time communication between machines.
Joining next-generation and lifesaving technology together, Ooredoo also premiered its 'Ooredoo Rescue' concept. Using pioneering drone technology, Ooredoo aims to enable Coast Guards to respond faster and more accurately to emergencies by providing a live video feed of the situation remotely and deploying an emergency raft via the drone. The Ooredoo Rescue solution includes a host of stations on a series of made-to-order buoys that are anchored around the coast. Each buoy is equipped with cameras, powered by solar technologies that can monitor the seas in real time.
Ooredoo also presented a broad range of mobile health solutions, including "You Click, We Care", which brings advanced medical monitoring and interaction straight to the home. Patients with chronic diseases can receive full medical attention from professionals with just one click on a mobile device, while advanced monitoring and alerting algorithms enable doctors to intervene as required before an emergency situation.
In addition, Zain Group was recognized as the winner of the GSMA's "Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award" for 2017. The award was presented to Zain Group and four other mobile operators Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell and Vodafone on 26 February 2017, the eve of Mobile World Congress, at the GSMA's annual Welcome Dinner at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, in the presence of His Majesty, King Felipe VI of Spain.
Zain's recognition in this manner was based on the work the telco continues to undertake around the region to assist and improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable sectors of society, including those fleeing the crisis in Syria. In particular, GSMA applauded Zain's creation of several commercial packages in the Middle East intended to facilitate connectivity, which is much needed amongst refugees and internally displaced people.
Another major development at MWC was the announcement of MoU's (Memorandum of Understanding) between Huawei and Zain Saudi Arabia. The collaboration between the two organizations will see them partner on a number of new technologies and services in an attempt to further develop the operator's ICT offering to its customers. In addition to this, the collaboration will also help them contribute significantly to the Kingdom's digital transformation goals.
Present at the signing of the MoU's were Zain Saudi Arabia CEO, Peter Kaliaropoulos and CEO of Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ramadan Ding. Under the first MoU, both companies will explore new avenues of cooperation to accelerate the Kingdom's digital transformation - which is one of the key factors of the Saudi 2030 Vision - as they define a network evolution path to help Zain deliver advanced services across its network.
Zain Saudi Arabia and Huawei have also identified several revenue-generating services to be implemented in the Kingdom, those of which rely on Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, like smart homes and utilities, connected cars, Huawei's MuchTV, Game RS and digital music services.
Another MoU will focus on Zain's B2B solutions and include developing a Fiber to the x (FTTX), Public Cloud domain and unified communication which will see launch of a business hotline and develop 15,000 SME in 2017.
Since the beginning of 2017, Zain Saudi Arabia and Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia have jointly announced a number of partnerships, with the most recent being the launch of a commercial NFV-based IMS network, which makes Zain the first operator in the world to move legacy networks onto clouds and simplify the network structure, resulting in a significant enhancement to the telecom provider's ability to cope with the future demand and network requirements.
Wrapping up on a positive note
On the third day of MWC, and in line with the event, Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications, Hi Excellency Jammal Jarrah, held a welcoming gathering with the Lebanese ICT Diaspora to provide updates about the Lebanese Telecom sector in a Q&A environment.
Five members in the panel were present with his Excellency, including Imad Kreidieh, head of the state-owned telecommunications company Ogero; Bassel Ayoubi, general director of investment and maintenance at the Ministry of Telecommunication; Naji Andraous, general director of installation and equipment; Naji Abboud, head of Owner Supervisory Board and the Minister's consultant Nabil Yamout. The conference was moderated by our very own Toni Eid, Editor-in-Chief of Telecom Review.
In his speech, the Minister of Telecommunication began by welcoming the Lebanese community present at Mobile World Congress, mentioning his astonishment with the Lebanese potential in the telecom sector and the diversification of the Lebanese skills in the region and abroad, knowing that most of the world's renowned companies comprise Lebanese people.
According to the Minister, the telecom sector is an essential pillar in the progress of any country, economically speaking. "It's part of the community's daily social and economical life. For this reason we have to enhance this sector as much as we can in order to keep pace with other nations and give the Lebanese community the best services," he said.
ZTE, a leading global mobile device maker, is showcasing the newly updated Axon 7 with both Android Nougat and Daydream by Google at MWC 2017. As the first Daydream-ready phone from Chinese manufacturer, the ZTE Axon 7, not only delivers the best VR experience, but also the best value of any flagship smartphone at an unbeatable price.
With the Axon 7's stunning 2k WQHD AMOLED display, Hi-Fi and dual front facing speakers, the Axon 7 brings users one of the most immersive VR experiences available on the market today.
"Delivering Android Nougat for the Axon 7 provides our worldwide users with an enhanced experience and greater value when purchasing this flagship device," said ZTE spokesperson. "Also, with Daydream-ready Axon 7, consumers in U.S. are now able to have an immersive VR experience at a price they can afford when paired with the Daydream View headset."
The release of Android Nougat provides Axon 7 users with the ability to personalize the device like never before. With added features at their fingertips such as the ability to run two apps side by side, save battery power and data package while on the go, express themselves through added emojis, Axon 7 continues to provide a flagship experience at a price that is unbeatable.
ZTE, which is returning to Barcelona for the 13th time, will focus on leading 5G evolution, advancing cloudification, creating the Internet of Everything, and developing state-of-art devices. The ZTE booth at MWC 2017 will be located at 3F30, Hall 3, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona. Visitors are welcome to demo the latest pioneering technology for the new connected era, as well as view a thrilling holographic video and explore the Axon 7 & Daydream by Google experience area and the Axon 7 Max and Blade V8 3D photo shooting experience zone.
Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE and also Samsung's LG were among the firms that unveiled new smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2017, perhaps in an attempt to capitalize on Samsung's withdrawal from the event where it was supposed to release its flagship but decided to delay to take extra precautions to avoid another exploding battery disaster.
The annual Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, Spain, usually hosts Samsung's new smartphone releases. But this year, the world's largest mobile phone maker had no such device to unveil of its own at the show.
Samsung is taking its time to release its new handset to avoid making another massive mistake – the company has to discontinue its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone last year in October after several reports of exploding batteries in the devices. What's more, Samsung's parent company, Samsung Group, is caught up in a corruption scandal that saw its chief arrested recently.
In its usual fashion, Apple, the world's second largest smartphone marker, did not show up at MWC. The Californian company's absence leaves other smaller smartphone makers a rare opportunity to grab people's attention at the event.
China's Huawei, which aims to overtake Apple and Samsung in the high end smartphone market, unveiled its new flagship model, the P10 and the larger P10 Plus on Sunday 26 Feb, the eve of the official start of the MWC event. The device features dual Leica camera lenses, a longer-lasting battery and a fingerprint sensor system.
Huawei has been making gains on its top rivals, but not enough to close the gap, according to Forrester Research analyst Thomas Husson. He says, "Huawei is a brand that lacks a strong personality, especially in the United States and in Western Europe."
The company managed to gain some ground on Samsung and Apple in 2016, increasing its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, according to the Gartner consultancy group. Samsung on the other hand saw its market share shrink over the same period by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent.
Huawei chief executive, Richard Yu, remains confident about the company's ambitions to become the world's number one smartphone distributor "maybe in five years," he said. "We are focused on the goal of becoming the market leader, we hope to get there."
Other releases at MWC included South Korea-based LG's new flagship smartphone designed for split-screen use so that it can show two apps at the same time. The device also features dual rear cameras. In addition, China's ZTE unveiled the world's first smartphone compatible with super fast 5G mobile internet service that networks expect to have up and running by 2020.
Nokia and BlackBerry, two former mobile phone leaders, made a comeback at the event, releasing their own new devices. Nokia unveiled three new Android smartphones and showcased a revamped version of its iconic 3310 device after more than a decade since it was phased out.
BlackBerry debuted a new high-end device, the KEYone that brings back the brand's signature physical keyboard and has a larger screen than previous models. Like Nokia, its new phones will be made under license by a Chinese manufacturer.
ZTE Corporation a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for mobile internet, and Intel, officially signed a strategic cooperation agreement at an IoT forum in Barcelona, Spain. Both parties will jointly establish an innovative lab for research and development of future key IoT technologies, including experimental verification, evaluation, and research and development of related technologies, thereby providing integrated market-oriented IoT solutions.
ZTE is committed to becoming an industry leader in the commercial use of IoT and 5G in the IoT field. ZTE and Intel have previously cooperated in many fields, such as IoT access technologies, open-source collaboration, IoT platforms, and solution integration.
Rose Schooler, Vice President of Intel's Sales Group and General Manager of Intel Global Internet of Things Sales said: "In Intel's vision, 5G will bring us a smarter internet and deliver a world of connectivity in a more flexible, effective and cheaper way. We are looking towards the infinite possibilities that come from 50 billion smart devices. Intel and ZTE will make joint efforts for the IoT lab. With rich experience and continuous innovation, we will create a new generation of IoT solutions for promoting the construction of an IoT application ecosystem as well as the development and prosperity of the IoT industry."
Chen Jie, CIO of ZTE, said: "IoT is not only an important part of the 'Made in China 2025' plan and the internet+ strategy, but also an important way to promote China's industrial advancement and economic revitalization. As a leader in independent innovation, ZTE continues to invest in research and development, to maintain continuous innovation and competitiveness, making breakthroughs in key technologies. In addition, ZTE actively explores business models, and is focusing on creating two major support platforms: an IoT ecosystem platform and capital platform. I am very pleased with the progress Intel and ZTE are making in the IoT field in joint R&D and the construction of the IoT Innovation Lab. I hope that both parties can work together to make breakthroughs in terminals, networks, and IoE PaaS. We will promote the construction of an IoT application ecosystem as well as the development and prosperity of the IoT industry by strengthening industrial collaboration, eliminating information silos, and creating industrial scale effects."
ZTE has built an open connection, management, and application platform together with Intel to provide services for upstream and downstream customers in the industry chain. ZTE's Smart IoT operating system (OS) provides intelligent capabilities for IoT terminals, and the IoT management platform enables simpler equipment and user management for customers. In addition, ZTE helps partners tap the value of each "BIT" by integrating big data and cloud computing capabilities.
As an ICT enabler for the IoT industry, ZTE provides Internet of Everything (IoE) solutions involving narrow band IoT (NB-IoT), long term evolution (LTE), LTE-M ASICs, modules, OSs for smart devices and software development kits, accelerating the development of various sensor technologies and facilitating the research and development of IoT application gateways, sensors, and modules.
With regards to terminals, ZTE focuses on chips, OS, communication modules, and intelligent gateways, and actively participates in industrial collaboration to create an open IoT platform for terminal hardware and software to help industry customers accelerate the development of intelligent IoT terminals.
As for networks, ZTE is committed to providing customers with better connectivity services and optimizing short-range, wide area network (WAN), metropolitan area network (MAN), and core network technologies, in order to meet differentiated needs for IoT application. ZTE implements technological innovation and upgrades in delay, capacity, and reliability.
ZTE has formulated end-to-end security solutions to provide customers with security services for simultaneous planning, construction, and operation. ZTE pushes to adapt to security strategies in different scenarios and create trustworthy application environments, OS platforms, and chip-level solutions for customers.
China’s ZTE has announced that it will unveil its first ‘gigabit’ handset at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week. The eagerly anticipated device is set to contain 360-degree panoramic video capabilities, enhanced HD video and cloud storage.
Full specifications of the new handset remain under wraps, but the Chinese company teased the Barcelona launch of the ZTE Gigabit Phone alongside an upgraded version of its flagship Axon7 and other new products in its Blaze series.
ZTE have further disclosed that its new device offers an improved entertainment experience –which includes a fast cache of high quality music and video content. In a statement issued by the Chinese firm they revealed that the new ZTE Gigabit Phone represented an important cornerstone on the path to 5G.
A spokesman said: “The introduction of the forward-looking smartphone, the ZTE Gigabit Phone, marks an important cornerstone for the 5G mobile era.” In addition to this, ZTE believes the device will revolutionize ‘connectivity’ with a new standard of download speeds, 1Gb/s, bringing a qualitative leap to a new world of mobile experience.
Analysts are predicted that Gigabit LTE will be a key theme at Mobile World Congress this year, which follows a demonstration of network technology which was conducted by Australian firm Telstra in January.
Analyst firm CCS offered their predictions for MWC, they said: “Gigabit LTE is going to be the headline story when it comes to network evolution. To deliver the download speeds to consumers, they will need a device able of accessing next-generation technology.”
Chinese telecoms giant ZTE Corporation, together with Indonesian service provider Smartfren Telecom Tbk, successfully completed the Pre5G Massive MIMO service test. This is Southeast Asia's first field commercial trial of Pre5G technology that could support technology evolution from 4G to 5G, demonstrating Smartfren’s continuous leadership in 4G technologies to the benefit of its customers.
At a press conference, Smartfren demonstrated the real live effect of using the Pre5G Massive MIMO to cover Teras Kota shopping mall in Jakarta. With the Pre5G Massive MIMO deployed outside the mall, the user rate inside the mall has been greatly improved from a few mbps to more than 30 mbps per user, ZTE stated.
Compared with a traditional macro base station, the Pre5G Massive MIMO provides a single-cell user rate of 4-6 times faster. In an area with weak coverage, the Pre5G Massive MIMO uses the three-dimensional beamforming technology to improve the single-user throughput by 6-10 times, greatly enhancing the cell-edge user experience.
“Smartfren is continuously leading in 4G in Indonesia, being the first operator to introduce 4G LTE Advanced service and VoLTE in 2015, and offering the widest 4G coverage across Indonesia to more than 200 cities,” said Christian Daigneault, CTO of Smartfren.
“With the commercial demonstration of Massive MIMO with our partner ZTE, we prepare the way to 5G and ensure that we are using the latest technology for the benefit of our customers. We intend to use Massive MIMO Base Stations to improve significantly customer experience inside high buildings and shopping malls, as well as to augment capacity in areas of extremely high wireless users. Smartfren can be first to use Massive MIMO in Indonesia since this technology is ideal with our TDD frequency band at 2300MHz.”
ZTE’s Massive MIMO and Multi-Antenna Space Division Multiple Access (SDMA) improves the efficiency of wireless spectrum and extends the coverage and capacity of the network which in turn provides better service stability. If we use the analogy of highway lanes as an example, without Massive MIMO, it is comparable to a two-lane highway and with the presence Massive MIMO, the number of lanes become 8, said ZTE.
Since 2015, ZTE has launched several commercial Pre5G Massive MIMO pilot projects in multiple markets and so far has already cooperated with more than 20 global carriers to deploy its Pre5G solution.
Ericsson’s new CEO insists the company will emerge stronger under his leadership, despite a tough road aheadWritten on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 07:44
Ericsson’s newly appointed CEO, Borje Ekholm, has pledged to guide the beleaguered company through what he has labeled a “period of intense change”. The Swedish telecoms giant has endured some major setbacks, and was forced to lay off more than 3,000 of its Swedish staff last year. What’s more, the company has been forced to fight off bribery allegations after former executives of Ericsson told the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that they had engaged in multiple counts of bribery in different regions all over the world in an effort to secure major contracts.
However, incoming Borje Ekholm has insisted that under his tenure the company will come through this intensely difficult period, and will emerge as an “even stronger leader” in the industry. In a statement, Ekholm pointed to Ericsson’s position in the development of 5G as a reason to be optimistic for the future, and reiterated his desire to return the company to success.
Ekholm said: “As a company and an industry we are going through a period of intense change. Our job is to ensure that Ericsson emerges as an even stronger leader, providing the industry and our customers with superior products, services and solutions. We will ensure that Ericsson remains at the forefront of technological development – across all parts of our portfolio and markets. Our task is to make our customers successful, which in turn will make us successful.”
In addition to the 3,000 job losses in Sweden, Ericsson was also forced to lay-off over 1,000 of its staff in Italy. Ekholm’s appointment brings an end to the six month tenure of interim boss Jan Frykhammar, who took over following the resignation of long-term CEO Hans Vestberg in July last year.
To coincide with Ekholm’s first day as CEO, Ericsson announced it had signed a deal with Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) with hardware and software to virtualize the operator’s core and IP network. The collaboration between the two is a result of its high-profile Cisco partnership and Ericsson believes it represents the first time the two companies have worked together on telecoms cloud infrastructure for an operator.
VHA CTO Kevin Millroy said the new infrastructure “opens the door to new business models and markets,” citing the development of Internet of Things technologies as a particular aim for the company.
But this is just a small taste of success for a company facing a tough road ahead. Ekholm is a long-time board member at Ericsson, and is taking on the role of CEO at a time when the company saw its share price plummet 35 percent last year amidst steep revenue declines, competition from Chinese competitors, and a slowdown in carrier spending as large investments in fourth-generation wireless gear vastly wound down.
Industrivarden AB and Investor, Ericsson’s two largest investors, pushed former CEO Hans Vestberg out of the company last year after he failed to predict the company’s downturn, missed financial targets, and didn’t react sufficiently to a collapsing market.
Caretaker CEO Frykhammar has done his best to cut costs, but hasn’t offered much clarity for the future of the company. That leaves Ekholm to lead Ericsson to a brighter future. There is hope, seeing as Ekholm once led Investor, the Wallenberg family’s investment company, during a 10-year period when the stock returned almost 300 percent.
At Investor, Ekholm, who is a trained engineer with Swedish and U.S. citizenship, generated impressive returns by updating the portfolio with wholly-owned, unlisted companies that helped to triple the stock price. The man is seen as an impressive executive, but he also sat on the board of Ericsson during the years when it declined, which has led some investors to doubt him, and prefer an outsider option.
In a recent phone interview with Bloomberg, Neil Campling, head of technology research at Northern Trust Securities, shared his opinion of the new Ericsson CEO: “First and foremost he has to rebuild the credibility of the company,” he said. “He has to do that by setting out a clear strategy and clear financial targets, and delivering on those targets.”
In a statement released on January 16, Ekholm said: “We are only at the beginning of the mobility journey as we in coming years will see massive transformation across industries. “Ericsson has shaped an entire industry and led technology developments.”
Ekholm was praised by Ericsson Chairman Leif Johansson in a statement: “Borje has a deep understanding of the business and the challenges Ericsson currently faces,” he said, adding that the CEO “will be able to guide Ericsson on the next steps of the company’s development.”
The most important thing for Ekholm to focus on as the new CEO of Ericsson, is evaluating the company’s costs, product offerings, and competitiveness against rising Chinese market rivals such as ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies. As China experiences an economic slowdown, these companies are getting more aggressive in their approach to pursuing business in Europe, which Ericsson will need to watch out for.
Business analysis firm IHS Markit claims Huawei took over Ericsson as the world’s largest supplier of mobile infrastructure in the third quarter of 2016 for the first time. In addition, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd and VimpelCom Ltd have selected ZTE, not Ericsson, to merge and manage their Italian mobile networks. The deal represents evidence of Chinese suppliers scaling up Chinese operations, and also represents a big blow to Ericsson, which has business with both carriers.
Over 1,000 jobs are at risk at Ericsson in Italy following the failure by the Swedish telecommunications company to secure a lucrative contract worth €1 billion to upgrade the network of Italy’s recently created joint-venture between Wind and 3 Italia.
3 Italia and Wind signed off on a deal to merge their local units in Italy in November, after a rigorous European Commission approval process, in a collaboration that creates the country’s largest operator. The companies aim to launch joint services in January.
However, it’s now likely that Ericsson will have to fire at least a quarter of its staff in Italy, following its failure to secure the contract for the network upgrade. It has been reported that the respective owners of 3 Italia and Wind, CK Hutchinson and Vimpel-Com have chosen China’s ZTE to carry out the network upgrade.
This has not yet been officially confirmed in Italy, but sources say ZTE have won the order – while it is believed Huawei and Nokia were also in contention for the order.
This is just the latest in a number of setbacks suffered by the struggling vendor. In October Ericsson announced that it would be slashing 3,000 jobs due to a combination of poor financial results and their failure to secure tenders for a number of vacant contracts that were up for grabs in the sector.
Ericsson has also had to fight off and refute allegations of bribery which came to light when former executives told the SEC that they had carried out a number of briberies across a whole host of different countries. One executive extraordinarily claimed Ericsson bribed the President of Costa Rica in order to secure a contract in the country.
All these setbacks, poor results and scandals have ultimately led to the inevitable departure of long-time CEO Hans Vestberg. He will officially leave his post at the beginning of next month where he will be replaced by Borje Ekholm. However, the incoming CEO now has to deal with this monumental setback in Italy – to go with all the other issues and problems urgently needing to be addressed at Ericsson.
Ekholm will be tasked with finding a way to revive the company’s fortunes amid an industry slump as operators curb investments in infrastructure.
China Telecom, ZTE and Inspur — one of China’s largest IT software and hardware companies — have become the latest gold members of the OpenStack Foundation, the organization that supports and promotes OpenStack, the most widely deployed open source software for building clouds.
Announcing the move, the OpenStack Foundation said the new members would support strategic opportunities for OpenStack in public cloud, telecom networks and the rapidly growing Chinese market. “All three new gold members demonstrate the massive scale and opportunity for OpenStack in China, collectively managing millions of servers and contributing code and knowledge to the OpenStack community.”
The executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, Jonathan Bryce, said: “OpenStack is truly a global community, with nearly 650 companies supporting the project in 187 countries. The investment and commitment of these new Gold Members underscores the global growth and evolution of OpenStack, with projects of massive scale serving millions of end users in China and other markets worldwide.”
The three were voted gold members by the OpenStack board at its November 17 board meeting and follow 99cloud, China Mobile, City Network and Deutsche Telekom becoming gold members at the October board meeting.
The foundation said its board “evaluates new potential members based on their strategic commitment to OpenStack, contributions to the community, and diversity of company size, location and industry.”
China Telecom is one of the largest mobile carriers in the world with more than 500 million subscribers and 300 data centers. It is migrating its CloudStack deployment to OpenStack.
Inspur has more than $US9.8 billion in annual revenue and manages hundreds of thousands of servers. ZTE is a global player in telecommunications and information technology and was a top 15 contributor to the latest OpenStack Newton software release.
Foundation membership is limited to eight platinum members and 24 gold members. In addition to the seven new gold members elected at the November and October board meeting, gold members for 2017 are Aptira, CCAT, Cisco, Dell EMC, DreamHost, EasyStack, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Huawei, inwinSTACK, Juniper Networks, Mirantis, NEC, NetApp, Symantec and UnitedStack.
ZTE has published a white paper setting out the strategy and vision that it says will guide the company for the next five years. It is based on five trends to which ZTE has given the acronym VOICE: Virtuality, Openness, Intelligence, Cloudification and internet of Everything.
Virtuality is the integration of the physical world and the virtual world with enhanced experience through big video, VR and AR. Openness is the transition from the traditional competition-based business model to close collaboration on an open basis. Intelligence is the intellectualization of all things, enhanced interaction and growing intelligence on multiple levels. Cloudification means that cloud platforms are the basis for enabling the digital economy.
ZTE says that, based on the analysis of the five trends of VOICE, “the next five years will be critical in the ongoing global economic transformation towards an open, sharing, and digital economy … [impacting] all areas of our lives.”
ZTE calls the strategy its M-ICT 2.0 strategy and says it is “designed to help businesses seize opportunities in an economy defined by the emergence of the sharing economy and the vast use of peer-to-peer networks, and dependent on the pervasive range of cloud computing platforms and services.”
It says the five trends encapsulated in the acronym VOICE “will drive innovative collaboration and concurrent advances across various fields.”
The white paper gives particular emphasis to the sharing economy. “With the boundaries of corporations and even whole industries becoming more blurred, open collaboration and sharing will become mainstream and propel a major shift in business models,” ZTE says.
“The emergence of the sharing economy and massive use of peer-to-peer networks has shown the way forward for businesses of all sizes. This sharing economy is dependent on the ability to innovate and execute at speed, which is built on a model of openness and collaboration.
“The surge in successful businesses that utilize the sharing economy model has proved that almost everything, including devices, resources, capabilities, and software, can be shared across people, companies and industries.”
In a traditional economy, ZTE says, “resources and capabilities are separated and are closed within individual enterprises and persons, and thus efficiency is very low.” But in a sharing economy, “the borders among resources and enterprises are blurred and thus idle resources can be effectively redeployed and integrated to achieve higher collaboration efficiency.”
ZTE’s white paper, M-ICT 2.0: VOICE for a Digital Future, is available here.