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SHORAWEZE, a Rwandan crowd farming platform

Shoraweze is a Rwandan crowd farming platform that allows members of the Rwandan diaspora around the world to sponsor a farm.

They have selected the best sponsorship opportunities in agribusiness for farmers and sponsors and use that capital to support small scale farmers.

With the sponsor’s capital and Shoraweze’s expertise, small scale farmers are able to generate higher yields from their farming activities.

The founding team behind SHORAWEZE, says: “Premium crops like chia seeds will guaranty reasonable revenues on a long term basis to local small scale farmers. We are committed to provide training and capacity building to the communities and improve the image of agriculture in general.”

The SHORAWEZE platform connects small scale farmers with investors allowing them to access affordable capital.

According to the founders:” With organic chia seeds, the sponsor makes a pledge of 1800$ per 1 hectare of land so we can farm for him. We sort, clean and sell the produce after harvest.  Once it’s sold we give them a % of their initial sponsorship amount plus the upfront they paid at the beginning of the season. A farming cycle of chia is 3 months and the payout is every 4 months, so 2-3 times a year in total depending on the availability of the land. “

The innovative business model involves diaspora communities willing to support agribusiness in Rwanda.

Who is eligible?

SHORAWEZE.COM is open to any farmer looking into scaling up his production and learning new Agri-tech solutions.

Diaspora organizations and Rwandan leaving abroad are invited to enter the program through the organization’s website or email shoraweze@gmail.com or call +250 789 976 500.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more details about the competition, visit https://shoraweze.com/

FOLLOW THEM:
https://www.facebook.com/shorawezerwanda
https://www.linkedin.com/company/shoraweze-crowdfarming-in-rwanda/

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Connecting future ports with private cellular networks as shipping industry sets to grow than ever before

By Taimur Lodhi, Ericsson Strategic Marketing Director

According to the World Bank, trade represented more than 60% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. And 90% of the world’s trade is facilitated by the shipping industry, according to the International Chamber of Shipping. The vast importance of future ports to shipping makes them a vital element for the function of the global economy.

According to statistics data from the United Nations Conference on Trade Development, of the four main types of shipping vessels (oil, bulk cargo, general cargo, and globally standardized containers), the container vessels carry most of the world’s non-bulk items. Many marine terminal operators are seeking new ways to optimize operations through automation. However, container ports have made the most strides in automation to date. This is primarily due to the consistent and standardized nature of the cargo.

In the past, ports operated independently from their peers and exhibited little international collaboration. With a globally standardized container, ports were able to form global container alliances, creating more scalable and automated processes. As smart, connected facilities document additional gains and efficiencies, port operators are increasingly interested in deploying new solutions. However, the high density of devices in a mature smart port presents new challenges and connectivity requirements to manage.

Ericsson’s latest research shows that future ports can create new cost reductions—with an ROI of 178% – as well as increased port worker safety and more responsible environmental impact.

The future of ports: an ocean of opportunity

The shipping industry is set to grow over the next decade. Cargotec, in its Investor presentation (2020), indicated a compound annual growth rate (CARG) of 3.6% for the global container throughput from 2013 to 2024. To handle the growth and increased traffic, future ports will need to adopt smarter and more efficient operations.

Ericsson’s report, “Connected Ports – A guide to making ports smarter with private cellular technology,” details the challenges that ports face. We examined how private cellular networks — typically 4G and 5G — will play a critical role in overcoming these by delivering high-speed connectivity, low latency, and strong performance in environments with high device density. Further, the report features a deep-dive analysis of five high-value use cases that illustrate how 5G-ready networks address specific pain points and offer a path to the future. 

To map the connected ports opportunities, Ericsson collaborated with researchers from Arthur D. Little and experts from ifm electronic GmbH, a global leader in sensor technology and the Industry 4.0 journey.

Navigating stormy seas

The increasing international populations and economic development are also causing consumer and industrial trade demands to grow, and so too must container shipping adapt to keep up. The swell in activity ahead puts more pressure on ports to be more efficient and sustainable while offering more competitive pricing to keep attracting major shipping lines. Port operators are turning to automation and digital transformation to manage any growing pains or choppy waters ahead.

The report details the key challenges faced by ports and how digital transformation can help companies innovate around risky and time-consuming operations to reap returns. For example, if ports adopt remote control or automation for cranes or other equipment, they reduce the risk of harm to onsite human operators and improve efficiency.

Additionally, the report shares the path necessary to bridge the connectivity gaps in future ports. Since previous automation and digital transformation efforts relied on communication technologies that can no longer handle the density, bandwidth, and latency required today, teams need a new approach. For instance, automated guided vehicles navigate throughout the ports as driverless forklifts and other materials handling vehicles. These moving vehicles require ample bandwidth and a reliable connection.

5G-ready private cellular networks enable mission-critical communication services, like voice and data services. In the future, this will help prevent injury, minimize economic impact during disasters or emergencies, and decrease future financial or economic risk. 

5G also means smooth sailing in the future when it comes to positioning accuracy, reliable connectivity for moving objects, as well as using only one backhaul for all services. This ensures port operators can streamline the approach instead of installing several pieces of network equipment on a crane, for example.

Charting the course

To test the value in connected ports, we devised a baseline port with ifm electronic GmbH. The baseline port represents one of the top 100 container ports in the world with approximately 4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year, generating roughly USD 400 million in revenue.

We analyzed 5 use cases according to their potential for generating strong value, as well as their feasibility. Use cases include:

  • Automated rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes
  • Remote-controlled ship-to-shore (STS) cranes
  • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
  • Condition monitoring
  • Drones for surveillance and deliveries

Safe harbors

Even though the potential for connected ports can span various applications, our research indicated the five use cases above are the most important, with automated RTG cranes, remote-controlled STS cranes, and cellular-connected AGVs among the most beneficial to ports.

What were the findings?

All use cases would pay for themselves in two to three years, and if all five are deployed together, they provide complete payback within two years and a return on investment of 178% by year five. Beyond the tremendous financial benefits, connected ports create a substantial triple bottom line that includes increased productivity and efficiency, reduced costs, improved safety for workers, and a more responsible environmental impact. 

The pre-condition for catching this “rising tide” is implementing fast, reliable, secure connectivity that only a 5G-ready private cellular network can provide. To see the full findings, read the report “Connected Ports” and check out the smart ports value calculator, which will allow you to see new ROI possibilities.

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HOOZA NEWS AGENCY

Ericsson report charts smarter ports with 5G private networks

  • Ericsson has released its new Connected Ports report, outlining smart use cases that can optimize port operations, create new cost reductions, increase worker safety and sustainability using private cellular technology. 

Ports and shipping are vital for a well-functioning global economy. According to the World Bank, in 2019, trade represented more than 60 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). Data from The International Chamber of Shipping reveals that shipping plays by far the largest part in this, facilitating roughly 90 percent of the world’s trading. The ports of the world literally keep its goods flowing.

The comprehensive report, Connected Ports: A guide to making ports smarter with private cellular technology, outlines how challenges of equipment downtime, congested port yards for loading and unloading, worker safety, and environmental impact could be resolved with private cellular networks.

5G-ready private cellular networks provide fast, reliable, and secure connectivity required by a smart port’s network infrastructure to handle the large amounts of data generated by cranes, vehicles, equipment, and workers.

In the maritime report findings, Ericsson collaborated with leading sensor technology provider, ifm electronic, as well as researchers from management consultancy Arthur D. Little, to examine and quantify five use cases with the most beneficial applications for smart port technologies:

  1. Remote-controlled ship-to-shore cranes load and unload container ships, moving containers between the ship and the dock with precision and maneuverability. 
  2. Automated rubber tired gantry cranes stack containers at terminals, crucial for when high-capacity stacking and good maneuverability are needed. 
  3. Automated guided vehicles(AGVs) navigate through the port using smart 3D sensors, handling all port materials, reducing energy costs and risk of accidents. 
  4. Condition monitoring detects faults before they occur, reducing unplanned downtime and maximizing asset productivity. 
  5. Drones deliver documents from ship to shore, reducing costs and environmental impact of crewed boats while also conducting security surveillance of ports. 

The report projects that if all of the five use cases are deployed together, complete payback can be achieved in less than two years. By year five, the report projects that the ROI would be 178 percent for our standard baseline port.

One port that is already deploying these types of smart technologies is Italy’s Port of Livorno – for example, by leveraging 5G technologies to enhance the exchange of real-time information among actors in the port’s terminal process. These applications have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 8.2 percent for one terminal operation.

Learn more by reading the full report, Connected Ports: A guide to making ports smarter with private cellular technology, and try the Smart Ports Value Calculator to figure out the ROI for ports deploying different use cases.

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Ericsson named a Leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report

  • Ericsson’s commercial 5G leadership and technology evolution is independently known industry-wide
  • Ericsson positioned highest for ‘Ability to Execute’ in the Gartner Magic Quadrant
  • End-to-end 5G platform central to customer-focused 5G strategy

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) has been named a Leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers by independent IT research and advisory company, Gartner.

Ericsson’s Leaders quadrant recognition in the February 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) report recognizes the company’s Leader position in both completeness of vision and ability to execute.

Vendors offering 5G solutions for communications service providers were comprehensively and independently assessed and evaluated by Gartner experts on their completeness of vision and ability to execute, to provide a market snapshot on 5G infrastructure abilities.

End-to-end 5G network infrastructure vendors were evaluated on how they enable IT provider performance to be competitive, efficient and effective and to positively impact revenue, retention and reputation within Gartner’s view of the market. The assessment of ability to execute included Ericsson’s products and services, Market Responsiveness and Track Record, Marketing Execution, Customer Experience, and Overall Viability.

Graphic: 2021 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “From research to rollout, we have invested heavily in 5G to ensure we have the best products, skills and field personnel to meet our customers’ needs. We believe that recognition as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant from Gartner reflects our technology leadership, market competitiveness, determination to innovate and commitment to our customers.”

Ericsson, as an industry leader in 5G networks, currently has more than 130 commercial 5G agreements with unique communications service providers (CSPs) and powers 79 live 5G networks across the globe.

Ericsson continuously evolves its end-to-end 5G offerings, which include Ericsson Radio System, 5G Core, Orchestration and 5G Transport as well as professional services. The company has introduced innovative software solutions such as Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, 5G carrier aggregation and Uplink Booster, which significantly improve coverage, user throughput and spectral efficiency. 

These solutions support service providers in deploying and evolving 5G to ensure the best end-user experience. In addition, Ericsson Radio System products delivered since 2015 can support 5G New Radio (NR) capability through remote software installation.

Ericsson Digital Services offers a dual-mode 5G Core solution for smarter networks to drive smarter business, allowing communications service providers to offer a multitude of new business opportunities for mobile users and industries.

Ericsson’s 5G Core solution combines an Evolved Packet Core and 5G Core network functions into a common cloud-native platform that supports 5G NR Standalone and Non-standalone, plus 4G, 3G and 2G.

Download the full report: the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers

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Ericsson appoints Sena Erten as Head of People for Market Area Middle East and Africa

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) today announced the appointment of Sena Erten as Vice President and Head of People at Ericsson Middle East and Africa and a member of the market area leadership team.

In her new role, Sena will work to realize the company’s people vision in the market area,inspire and guide the business towards a world-class employee experiencethat is people centered, adopting the latest digital technologies, andleading the way in driving our company culture.In a fast transforming industry, Sena will drive Ericsson’s people transformation in the region through innovative leadership, attracting and retaining the best talents and helping Ericsson to win in the talent marketplace while creating a compelling employee experience.

Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa said: “People are at the center of everything we do at Ericsson. I am delighted to welcome Sena into her new role. Herextensive knowledgeand experiencewill further strengthen our people function.In a high-paced industry, pushing the envelope of technology, Sena will work to address the fast-changingcompetence development needs of our company by unlocking the human potential, upskilling and reskilling talents, enabling us to stay ahead of the market and adding value to our customers.”

Sena brings 20 years of human resources and executive experience to Ericsson, rooted in a passion for people development, building diverse and inclusive cultures and high-performing, empowered organizations.

On the occasion of her appointment, Sena says: “I am excited to join the Ericsson family and be part of the team; realizing Ericsson’s vision of an intelligent, sustainable and connected world. I look forward to drive the company’s people strategy in the region, realizing the talents’ full potential while building a culture of excellence and supporting our teams in finding new and effective ways to engage, lead and collaborate.”

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Ericsson recognized for COVID-19 response leadership by Global Business Alliance

The Global Business Alliance (GBA) recognized Ericsson for its innovative contribution to combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, GBA members have utilized their expertise, resources and dedicated employees to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What’s amazing about Ericsson’s story is how they mobilized their highly-skilled workforce to share their technical expertise in deep learning to help researchers better understand this disease,” said Nancy McLernon, president and CEO of the Global Business Alliance.

At the onset of the pandemic in the U.S., more than 350 Ericsson employees came together virtually as a volunteer team, leveraging automation and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to create tools to accurately utilize the ever-growing set of academic papers published on the COVID-19 virus. In just 27 days, the team completed and submitted a solution for all nine tasks included within the federal government’s COVID-19 Open Research Dataset Challenge (CORD-19), which aimed to develop AI tools to help the medical research community address urgent questions posed by the pandemic.

“Ericsson employees have always been eager to jump in and help, leveraging our technology for good. It’s truly part of our culture where our employees embrace the responsibility to give back through selfless volunteering,” said Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America. “This was a very different challenge and a true testament to the resourcefulness and dedication of our team across the world, mobilizing quickly to help contribute to a solution for this global pandemic. Thank you Global Business Alliance for supporting international companies in the United States, and recognizing Ericsson for this award.”

Ericsson’s effort produced significant results in the form of research tools that enable medical professionals, public health officials and other leaders to synthesize the increasing volume of medical research on COVID-19 and related viruses that now consists of over 200,000 articles.

The Awards, which were presented by GBA in a virtual event streamed earlier, showcase the significant contributions that international companies make to local U.S. communities. Many international companies offer their employees the opportunity to volunteer and help direct the company’s corporate social responsibility efforts.

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Hooza Media opens regional Office in Tanzania

Hooza Media has announced the opening of the company’s Regional Office in Tanzania where it is expected to make it easier for customers in the country to access its services within the right time.

The expansion of Hooza Media services is part of the company’s long-term plan to make media and communications services available to all Africans irrespective the boundaries.

 Hooza Media has vowed to step towards faster and more modern services to reach more people across the East African Region as well as Africa as a continent.

Hooza Media CEO, Mr. Victor Nkindi says this is the possible way to expand activities in the region and in Africa in particular.

He explains that the company currently has plans to expand its operations to as much countries in Africa.

Hooza Media currently has operations in various countries including Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Tanzania, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Rwanda.

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#TeamEurope supports COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution to Rwanda

#TeamEurope (EU and Member States) welcomes the announcement by Gavi on the first delivery of vaccines via the COVAX facility. Rwanda will receive a first 1.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021.

#Team Europe has substantially contributed to the COVAX facility, pledging over €850 million to help secure 1.3 billion doses of vaccination for 92 low and middle-income countries, including Rwanda.  

By the end of February, Rwanda is expected to receive 996,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and 102,960 of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Team Europe commends Rwanda for its preparedness to receive the vaccines, including the required setting up and management of the ultra-cold chain.

EU Ambassador Nicola Bellomo said; “This is a visible demonstration of our engagement to support equal and global access to a safe and efficient vaccine for everyone in the world. No region of the world is safe until we are all safe COVAX is and remains the best vehicle to ensure international vaccine solidarity and will be key to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.

The EU has been leading efforts to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against COVID-19 internally, and has been a key initiator of the global framework, together with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international health organizations, to accelerate the research and development of COVID-19-vaccines, tests and treatments and a top contributor from the start to COVAX.

The COVAX Facility – co-led by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO – aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. All COVAX participant countries will receive individual allocations of vaccine doses totalling 147 million doses by June 2021. By the end of the year, COVAX has already secured 1.6 million doses and expects to increase this number to reach 2.3 billion.

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The crucial role of network slicing in realizing the full potential of 5G

By Zoran Lazarevic, Chief Technology Officer at Ericsson Middle East and Africa

The digital era has the potential to transform industry and society, and with the introduction of 5G around the world, countless new business models have become a possibility. New-generation technology and services come with their unique connectivity and performance-related challenges. So, communication service providers (CSP) need efficient and flexible technologies to meet the demands of these new services.

This is where network slicing comes in – providing the capability to enable new business models across a broad industry spectrum. This solution allows operators to segment the network to support particular services and deploy multiple logical networks for different service types over one common infrastructure.

With the combination of 5G and network slicing, CSPs can offer new services, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and real-time automation, with guaranteed performance to the enterprise and mobile broadband (MBB) market segment. In doing so, access to potential new sources of revenue, and improved ways to support their customers, will open up.

5G RAN slicing for next-level services

In the era of industry digitalization, efficient solutions are needed to address simultaneously services that need high bandwidth and services with low latency or ultra-reliability. These new services will have different/unique performance requirements characterized through the service level agreements (SLA). The CSPs need the capability to guaranty fulfillment of SLAs while creating end-to-end that spans over the radio access network (RAN), core network and transport network. The ability to monitor and control performances in the RAN is the vital part and this is where the 5G RAN slicing solution comes to play.

The 5G RAN slicing solution allows for the slice-aware observability, dynamic radio resource partitioning on a 1ms level, quality of service, and slice orchestration functionality. This way, service providers can deliver SLA based 5G slices to drive innovation in smart manufacturing, healthcare, online gaming and other emerging enterprise and MBB use cases.

RAN slicing builds on existing 5G network investments and secures the efficient allocation of limited radio resources to facilitate the creation of next-level services while guaranteeing the fulfillment of SLAs. RAN slicing will considerably shorten time-to-market and improve the total cost of ownership for the CSPs when offering the new services.

In offering the new services, CSPs are initially focusing on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), cloud gaming, and other MBB-based use cases in the consumer market segment. As end-to-end network slicing matures, use cases will continue to grow both in number and complexity. Examples in the enterprise verticals already include smart surveillance, real-time automation and remote operation. Strong interest has been observed in tailor-made slices for the financial services sector in certain Asian countries.

With the increased number of slices, created for various use cases, complexity will also increase. This increased complexity will demand end-to-end slice orchestration and automation to carry out slice lifecycle management.

RAN slice orchestration is part of end-to-end slice orchestration, enabling automation of slice lifecycle management tasks such as slice provisioning, activation, supervision and service assurance.

Ericsson RAN slicing solution enables service providers to offer differentiated handling of new services with respective quality of service and radio resource management for SLA fulfillment. What’s more, our solution is scalable and flexible enough to support a growing number of slicing use cases with faster time to market.

Ericsson network slicing solution provides the opportunity to monetize CSPs 5G investment and open the door for the new revenue streams from enterprise and MBB segment. The objective is to achieve full dynamic orchestration of end-to-end slicing with optimal automation.

For more information on this topic, read our latest paper in which we discuss the importance of RAN slicing in delivering on the promise of 5G.

Download the 5G RAN slicing report here

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Ericsson reports major achievements as Fourth quarter and Full year 2020 Statistics are released

Ericsson, a company that specializes in communications technology and services with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, has released a quarterly report on the company’s business and investment figures for the full year 2020

There are exciting statistics, according to Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson

Commenting on the report, Börje Ekholm said “As we navigate through the pandemic, health and well-being of our colleagues, customers and partners is our number one priority.”

He explains that “Despite the challenges, our people continued to deliver and to serve our customers with very limited disturbances. Our R&D investments have continued to drive both technology leadership and cost efficiency which have led to increased market share and improved financial performance.”

“We are today a leader in 5G with 127 commercial contracts and 79 operating networks around the world.” Börje Ekholm adds

According to statistics, Ericsson Organic sales grew by 5% for the full year 2020. The company’s operating margin of 12.5% (5.0%) exceeded the 2020 target and reached the 2022 Group target range two years early.

Networks sales grew organically by 20%, reporting a gross margin of 43.5% (41.1%) for Q4. This reflects continued high activity levels in North America and North East Asia, and also in Europe where Ericsson further increased market share.

The report shows that Networks delivered an operating margin of 19% for full-year 2020 – well above the 15%-17% target.

“Investing in R&D is fundamental to our strategy. Since 2017 we have increased R&D investment by SEK 10 b. and delivered SEK 16 b. of improved operating income. Our growth during 2020 is built on a strong and competitive 5G portfolio.” Börje Ekholm, Ericsson President and CEO reveals.

Ericsson Digital Services gross margin grew to 41.0% (38.1%) in Q4. From 2017 to 2020, gross margin excluding restructuring charges and items affecting comparability increased from 29% to 42%, as a result of streamlined product portfolio, fewer critical contracts, a growing portion of software sales and lower service delivery costs.

Börje Ekholm
President & CEO of Ericsson

“We continue to execute on the turnaround plan and the operating income of SEK 0.5 b. in Q4 is the best quarterly result to date. The cloud-native 5G portfolio has a high win ratio and significant new customer contracts will start to generate revenues during the next 12-18 months. By selective R&D investments to accelerate our growth portfolio, we aim to capture further opportunities.” Says the President of Ericsson

Managed Services delivered a gross margin of 17.7% (15.4%) in Q4. Sales declined on operator consolidation in the US during 2020. The full-year 2020 operating margin was 8.1% – above the 5%-8% target. We expect the margin profile to improve further with increasing sales of our Operations Engine with its high value-added services, driven by R&D investments in AI and automation. We see increasingly positive response from customers to our new portfolio.

Emerging Business and Other sales are growing in enterprise offerings such as IoT Platforms, complemented by the acquisition of Cradlepoint.

 Gross margin improved to 33.8% (15.1%) driven by operational leverage from growth and lower cost as a result of the exited Edge Gravity business.

Cradlepoint drives new revenues for mobile service providers and strengthens Ericsson position in the 5G enterprise market, alongside our existing Dedicated Networks and IoT portfolio.

The underlying business in Cradlepoint develops according to plan.

However, reported sales and costs for Cradlepoint are impacted by purchase price allocations and during 2021 the operating margin is expected to be negatively impacted by approximately -1 percentage point due to amortization of intangibles and increased cost for market expansion.

5G acceleration

Börje Ekholm noted that “The pandemic has fast forwarded the digitalization of societies, including remote working, by months if not years. A resilient digital infrastructure is critical. We see more signs that countries and enterprises see 5G as a key access technology, with increasing deployment speed in Australia, the Middle East, North East Asia and the US. The pandemic has exposed the digital divide and rapid deployment of 5G is a fast way to bridge the divide.

According to Ericsson President “The Swedish telecom regulator’s decision to exclude Chinese vendors from 5G networks may create exposure for Ericsson operations in China.”

Our business in 180 markets today has been built on free trade and open, competitive markets. This has also ensured the development of a single global standard for mobile communication. It is critical that responses to the geopolitical situation safeguard the extraordinary value associated with those operating standards for 5G and beyond.” He said

During 2020, Ericsson further reinforced its strong commitment to ethics and compliance.

The company increased the investment with the recruitment of additional dedicated resources and the deployment of new or revised processes and controls.

“As a vital cornerstone, we put focus on establishing a durable ethical culture that is built on individual accountability for responsible business practices. The ongoing independent monitorship is providing valuable contributions to achieving our ambition.” Börje Ekholm said

“Long-term business fundamentals remain strong and we will continue to invest in further strengthening our portfolio and growing our global footprint. While we expect temporary negative impact during 2021 from IPR renewals, Cradlepoint and investments to strengthen our long-term business, we remain fully committed to the 2022 target as a milestone towards the long-term target of 15%-18%.” Börje Ekholm assured

Fourth quarter highlights

  • Sales adjusted for comparable units and currency grew by 13% YoY mainly driven by sales in North East Asia, Europe and North America. Reported sales were SEK 69.6 (66.4) b.
  • Gross margin excluding restructuring charges improved to 40.6% (37.1%) with margin improvements in all segments. Reported gross margin improved to 40.6% (36.8%).
  • Operating income excluding restructuring charges improved to SEK 11.0 b. (15.8% operating margin) from SEK 6.5 b. (9.7% operating margin) mainly driven by Networks. Reported operating income was SEK 11.0 (6.1) b.
  • Networks sales increased by 20% YoY, adjusted for comparable units and currency. Operating margin excluding restructuring charges was 21.5% (14.5%).
  • Reported net income was SEK 7.2 (4.5) b.
  • Free cash flow before M&A was SEK 12.8 (-1.9) b. Q4 2019 included a payment of SEK 10.1 b. related to the resolution of the US SEC and DOJ investigations. Net cash Dec 31, 2020, was SEK 41.9 (34.5) b. 

Full-year highlights

  • Sales adj. for comp. units and currency grew by 5%, with Networks growing by 10%. Reported sales increased by 2% to SEK 232.4 b.
  • Gross margin excl. restructuring charges was 40.6% (37.5%), with improvements in all segments.
  • Reported operating income improved to SEK 27.8 (10.6) b.  
  • Reported net income was SEK 17.6 (1.8) b.
  • Free cash flow before M&A amounted to SEK 22.3 (7.6) b. Full-year 2019 included a payment of SEK 10.1 b. related to the resolution of the US SEC and DOJ investigations.
  • The Board of Directors will propose a dividend for 2020 of SEK 2.00 (1.50) per share to the AGM.

Planning assumptions highlights (please see the quarterly report for complete planning assumptions)

  • Three-year average reported sales seasonality between Q4 and Q1 is -24%; however, the seasonal effect may be somewhat less pronounced due to 5G deployment in some of Ericsson’s markets.
SEK b.Q4
2020
Q4
2019
YoY
change
Q3
2020
QoQ
change
Jan-Dec
2020
Jan-Dec
2019
YoY
change
Net sales69.666.45%57.521%232.4227.22%
 Sales growth adj. for comparable units and currency – – 13%– – – – 5%
Gross margin 40.6%36.8%– 43.1%– 40.3%37.3%– 
Operating income (loss) 11.06.180%8.627%27.810.6163%
Operating margin 15.8%9.2%– 15.0%– 12.0%4.6%– 
Net income (loss) 7.24.560%5.629%17.61.8– 
EPS diluted, SEK 2.261.3370%1.6140%5.260.67– 

Measures excl. restructuring charges and other items affecting comparability[1]
Gross margin excluding restructuring charges 40.6%37.1%– 43.2%– 40.6%37.5%– 
Operating income excl. restr. charges & items affecting compar. in 2019[2] 11.05.792%9.023%29.122.132%
Operating margin excl. restr. charges & items affecting compar. in 2019[2] 15.8%8.6%– 15.6%– 12.5%9.7%– 
Free cash flow before M&A 12.8-1.9– 3.9– 22.37.6192%
Net cash, end of period 41.934.521%41.51%41.934.521%

[1]Non-IFRS financial measures are reconciled at the end of this report to the most directly reconcilable line items in the financial statements.

[2]Operating income excludes restructuring charges in all periods and cost provisions related to the resolution of the SEC and DOJ investigations of SEK -11.5 b. in Q3 2019 as well as a partial release of the same provision of SEK 0.7 b. in Q4 2019