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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

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Digital Inclusion: What Does Equal Access To Education Mean In Digital Age?

The COVID-19 crisis, and the impact which it has had on learning across the world, has highlighted many of the digital disparities which exist in today’s world. At a time when many of the world’s students shifted from physical to digital, we were also faced with the hard truth that today there are still 3.6 billion people in the world who are unconnected.

For students in the connected half of the world, the story is much different. While 1.2 billion children were affected by school closures across much of the world, our recent Consumer COVID-19 report found that students were able to substitute physical learning by spending 230 percent more time on digital learning tools such as Google Class, Epic! and Seesaw Class.

This of course is a significant rise, but it is also an acceleration of a trend which we have steadily been tracking since our first Connect To Learn program exactly ten years ago.

The State of Broadband 2020 report estimates that there are twice as many people today who use the Internet compared to 2010. This rise in digital literacy, together with the imminent period of rapid digitalization of the economy, means that ensuring fair and equal access to both education and future job markets will rest on the extent of digital inclusion within our societies.

What is digital inclusion and why is it so important today?

Today, technology plays a much bigger role in the quality and scope of how we learn, such as new digital learning platforms which are estimated to reach 350 billion USD by 2025; what we learn, with a growing emphasis on programming, robotics, AI and automation; and how we can use it in the job market, with digital skillsets increasingly becoming a prerequisite of tomorrow’s workforce.

The changes which are happening today show the disparity between the developed and undeveloped world. If you are not connected, that shows you the leap which you have to make between the connectivity aspect, access to education and benefits which are derived from that.

Closing this digital divide, with those who are not connected or not considered to be digitally literate, is imperative to ensuring a fair distribution of digital opportunities across countries, locations, gender, socioeconomic status, and age.

Access to education in the digital age

In 2010, we co-founded the Connect To Learn initiative with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Millennium Promise, with a focus on delivering connectivity and ICT tools to enhance teaching and learning in unconnected, underprivileged and largely unrepresented communities.

Since our first projects in the Millennium Villages, we’ve helped to connect and increase the digital inclusion of more than 200,000 students worldwide. As the program has evolved, we have increased our efforts to close the digital divide not just in terms of connectivity, but from a content, syllabus and platform side which is fundamental.

As a technology company, we quickly discovered that we can offer so much more than connectivity, but furthermore can help improve learning processes and methodologies so learning can become more impactful. For example, through partnerships with like-minded organizations, we have helped to digitalize and disseminate content through digital learning tools such as mobile apps.

One of the biggest differences from ten years ago is also that the nature of technology in an educational context, both as a medium and a means to enter the job market was still relatively immature as the landscape has evolved, we’ve come to understand the need to personalize and individualize learning so that we can improve learning outcomes in a meaningful way.

Giving people access to the right type of content is one aspect, another equally critical aspect is the human element. On top of the digital layer, students will still always need the engagement, inspiration and activation that comes from teachers and trainers who know about the topic. I believe that, even in the digital age, technology will never be able to replace this interaction, but rather can serve as an increasingly innovative medium for those critical learner-instructor interactions, such as through the Internet of Skills.

Digital inclusion through public-private partnerships

Zohra Yermeche

Today, there is a significant need for digital skills courses. Key technology areas such as AI, robotics and app development are advancing at such a rapid pace, which can make it difficult to ensure an effective transfer of competence to emerging workforces.

Such is the pace of change for topics such as these, public academic institutions will invariably struggle to take learning beyond a basic theoretical level. Public-private partnerships will therefore be key to addressing this, by developing advanced curriculums and delivering the necessary quality and scale of access.

As a sustainability pioneer in the private sector, we’ve understood the power of partnership, which is why we’re investing heavily in building out those partnerships with like-minded entities to create sustainable solutions in order to address the issues which the education sector faces today. A good example of this is the Ericsson Digital Lab program which is now live in several countries in partnership with local schools and community learning centers. The aim here is to share those competences that we have in-house on a much broader scale, addressing those critical skillset demands which are needed in tomorrow’s workforce.

This year, in response to the impact which COVID-19 has had on learning, we continuing these efforts by joining the UNESCO-led Global Education Coalition, launching Ericsson Educate and partnering with UNICEF to map school connectivity as part of the  Giga project.

Through digital methodologies, and with a focus on improving digital skills for students across all communities, our commitment is to ensure that future generations continue to have the skills and knowledge to find opportunity in a changing digital world. This was what we set out to do when we launched Connect To Learn ten years ago, and this will continue to be our priority in this next critical decade of action.

Zohra Yermeche is Program Director for Connect To Learn at Ericsson

Read the original story here: https://www.ktpress.rw/2021/01/digital-inclusion-what-does-equal-access-to-education-mean-in-digital-age/

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Ericsson Year 2020 in Review

2020 may be primarily remembered in history for the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Billions of people have suffered bereavement, illness, hardship or measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus strain.

Ericsson actions this year were aimed at protecting the health and safety of employees, customers and stakeholders. The pandemic also highlighted the crucial need for connectivity. While working strictly to local pandemic restrictions, Ericsson continued to deploy 5G globally, cemented its 5G leadership and completed the company turnaround.

January: European momentum and the World Economic Forum

The year began with the first of what would be many live 5G milestones, when TIM and Ericsson, together with Qualcomm, reached a new European record for 5G speed. The partners successfully completed Europe’s first connection overcoming the 2Gbps speed barrier on a 5G live commercial network. 

5G robotics was on show for world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as Ericsson teamed up with 5G partners ABB and Swisscom to highlight the value of adopting Industry 4.0 solutions to global political and business leaders.

In France, Ericsson announced the establishment of a new R&D site to accelerate 5G momentum in Europe. Opened in early 2020, the site focused initially on 5G software development and security, benefitting the global 5G ecosystem, and leveraging on Ericsson’s collaboration with French customers.

February: Portfolio strengthens as COVID-19 dominates  

With the initial outbreak of the novel corona virus and the health and safety of employees, customers and other stakeholders as the company’s top priority, Ericsson took the proactive decision to withdraw from MWC Barcelona 2020 in early February.

Despite lacking its usual physical presence at the largest annual event in the telecom industry – which would be later cancelled  – Ericsson moved forward with its plans to bolster its commercial 5G portfolio, announcing four new additions to its 5G platformnew additions to the Ericsson Radio Dot System portfolio to further strengthen the product suite for indoor 5G networks, and the commercial availability of Ericsson Spectrum Sharing.

Ericsson Spectrum Sharing went on to win top honors at the GSMA’s GLOMO Awards, scooping the Overall Mobile Technology and Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough awards.

March: Ericsson 5G production in U.S. underway

As the coronavirus continued its spread across the world, we looked at how Ericsson employees supported efforts in China to combat the virus. Local Ericsson teams moved swiftly into action to deliver mission-critical communications infrastructure to where it was needed most – the country’s permanent and makeshift hospitals.

In the US, Ericsson’s first smart factory in the country went operational and produced its first 5G base stations to enable rapid 5G deployments. The factory is one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the industry, and its first product was the millimeter-wave Street Macro solution, which is key to Ericsson’s 5G portfolio for its North American customers.

With the global pandemic putting the need for fast, reliable and secure connectivity in focus, a host of operators around the world ramped up their 5G ambitions. Ericsson was selected by Taiwanese communications service provider Far EasTone (FET) as its 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) vendor. The deal spans 5G RAN across FET’s spectrum assets in the low, mid and high bands using Ericsson Radio System products and solutions.

Also in the region, Chunghwa Telecom selected Ericsson to provide the 5G platform to support its future network, and deploy a non-standalone (NSA) New Radio (NR) network on mid and high-frequency bands. In Hong Kong, Ericsson and SmarTone agreed to a five-year contract for the deployment of 5G. Ericsson is the sole supplier of SmarTone’s 4G network and will continue as their sole 5G vendor – extending the companies’ 28 years of partnership.

In Europe, Ericsson was selected by Greek mobile communications service provider COSMOTE as its sole 5G RAN vendor under a major network modernization deal.

Ericsson and Telenor also switched on Norway’s first commercial 5G services in the city of Trondheim. The achievement was part of an ongoing project to build and modernize Telenor’s 5G RAN and power the country’s digital future.

April: Connectivity in focus

In April, we looked further at Wuhan, China, and how Ericsson engineers working tirelessly on the frontline of the emerging crisis to deliver critical communications infrastructure across the province.

The global pandemic continued to highlight the role of 4G and 5G networks as critical national infrastructure. In Europe, this momentum was seen in a host of announced Ericsson deals with service providers.

Among them was Erillisverkot Group, the state-run body responsible for national communications networks for public authorities, emergency services and other critical services in Finland. It selected Ericsson to provide 5G next-generation core network products and solutions for its mission critical broadband network.

VodafoneZiggo, the leading Dutch communications service provider, announced the launch of 5G across the Netherlands with Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and 5G Core solutions at the heart of its rollout. In the UK, British Telecom (BT) and Ericsson signed a deal to deploy Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core, a key component in BT’s move to a single converged IP network.

In the US, Ericsson and U.S. Cellular began boosting mobile broadband capacity to customers in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, New Hampshire, Maine and North Carolina, due to increased demand for data usage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May: Ekholm highlights the role of connectivity

Speaking at the kickoff of a new online event series – Ericsson UnBoxed Office – Ericsson President and CEO, BörjeEkholm, highlighted the importance of connectivity during times of crisis and the opportunity to rethink the role of networks in the future.

In the US, Ericsson worked with T-Mobile and ecosystem partners to enhance the quality of connectivity and achieved several important ‘world’s first’ milestones for standalone architecture (SA) 5G. “Powerful and reliable wireless networks are more important than ever, and these milestones mark a huge step forward for the entire wireless ecosystem,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile.

In Europe, the continent’s largest 5G research network, powered by Ericsson 5G products and solutions, went live in Aachen Germany. Comprising multiple partners, the 5G Industry Campus Europe aims to develop and implement applications and solutions for digitized and networked production to benefit 5G production across Europe and beyond.

May also marked the 20-year anniversary of Ericsson Response, the company’s humanitarian relief program that focuses on providing connectivity to humanitarian workers and populations in affected areas during crises.

June: A strengthened 5G position, awards and new solutions

June saw a host of new 5G contracts and rollouts. Ericsson strengthened its position in China by winning 5G contracts in 2020 with all three major operators.

Telefónica Deutschland, which operates under the O2 brand in Germany, selected Ericsson 5G Core for its network of the futureBell Canada selected Ericsson as a 5G partner in RAN technology to support its nationwide 5G mobile and fixed wireless access deployment. Ericsson also continued to rollout 5G in the UK with an extended partnership with O2 UK.

The June edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report took an incisive look at the role of networks and digital infrastructure in keeping societies running, and families connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ericsson announced new AIR solutions to accelerate 5G mid-band deployments, meaning communications service providers can now deploy mid-band 5G networks faster and on a wider scale without adding to their site footprint.

The first half of the year wrapped up with Ericsson scooping Red Dot Design Awards for Ericsson Radio System products.

July: Africa benefits from 5G … U.S customers receive U.S. made Ericsson 5G products

With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much in focus, Ericsson also supported adjacent industries. As the demand for ventilators increased, Getinge, a global supplier of mechanical ventilators, was faced with the challenge of ramping its production 160 percent during 2020. With R&D and supply teams based in the same region of Sweden, Getinge reached out to Ericsson’s local Product Development Unit Transport for help.

Commercial 5G launches continued to gain speed around the world. In Taiwan, both Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone launched their commercial 5G networks, with 5G RAN and Core solutions provided by Ericsson.

In South Africa, communications service provider MTN went live with Ericsson-powered commercial 5G in the cities of Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth. In the US, Verizon became the country’s first communications service provider to receive a 5G base station manufactured at Ericsson’s new 5G production factory in Texas.

New Ericsson software was also released, allowing communications service providers to tap the full potential of 5G New Radio (NR) technology with the commercial availability of Ericsson Standalone 5G NR software for 5G mid- and low bands.

August: Ericsson tops 100 unique 5G customer milestone

August saw Ericsson reach a significant 5G milestone when the company secured its 100th commercial 5G agreement or contract with unique communications service providers.

5G deployments continued with Ericsson and Telekom Slovenije, launching the first commercial 5G network in Slovenia. Claro Brasil also brought the first 5G network to Latin America using Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, initially rolling out services across 12 areas in Brazil.

Forwarding the company’s sustainability and corporate responsibility ambitions, Ericsson joined The Pathways Coalition, a group of innovative companies representing the infrastructure, utilities, transportation and retail sectors. The ambition is to accelerate decarbonization of heavy transport and reach the objective of zero CO2 emissions by year 2050 or earlier, in line with The Paris Agreement.

September: More 5G momentum in Europe … Ericsson acquires Cradlepoint

September saw more operators launching their commercial 5G services. In Denmark, rapid deployment by Ericsson field professionals enabled Danish communications service provider, TDC, to beat its nationwide 5G network roll out timeline and launch commercial 5G across most of Denmark on September 7.

In Spain, Ericsson helped both Orange and Telefónica Spain to launch commercial 5G services. Ericsson and Three Ireland combined to launch 5G in Ireland, bringing comprehensive 5G coverage and network capacity.

Ericsson teamed up with Rostelecom and Tele2 to demonstrate 5G capabilities for COVID health monitoring by deploying a pilot 5G network at the Digital Industry of Industrial Russia (CIPR) conference to help monitor the health of visitors. The pilot 5G service enabled remote health monitoring of CIPR-2020 visitors including temperature checks, use of personal protective equipment (e.g. masks), and extent of social distancing.

Big news followed with the announcement of Ericsson’s agreement to acquire Cradlepoint, the US-based market leader in Wireless Edge WAN 4G and 5G Enterprise solutions. The investment is key to Ericsson’s ongoing strategy of capturing market share in the rapidly expanding 5G Enterprise space. Cradlepoint complements Ericsson’s existing 5G Enterprise portfolio which includes Dedicated Networks and a global IoT platform. The combined offering will create valuable new revenue streams for customers by supporting full 5G-enabled services for enterprise, and boost returns on investments in the network.

October: A big month for 5G Core

October saw numerous wins for Ericsson in the 5G Core space. Proximus, the Belgian communications service provider, selected Ericsson to implement a new 5G Core network on its cloud infrastructure. The cloud-native solution is based on Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core, which will also be used for the renewal of the 4G network.

In neighboring Netherlands, Dutch service provider KPN chose Ericsson as its mobile core network vendor. Under the five-year agreement, Ericsson will deploy dual-mode 5G Core software with full support services, including an accompanying systems integration program with third-line support services.

To the south, POST Luxembourg strengthened its partnership with Ericsson with a multiyear deal to deploy 5G Core and 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) in Luxembourg. POST went live with Ericsson-powered 5G on October 16.

Confirming Ericsson’s strong stance on sustainable business practices, the company was named one of the world’s most sustainable companies by the Wall Street Journal. Ericsson ranked #12 on the publications list of the 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World.

November: Company turnround completed

November saw another significant milestone in recent Ericsson history as senior company executives confirmed to Capital Markets Day 2020 attendees that the three-year company turnaround was complete – with restored profitability, organic growth and on-tracking financial target progress.

A series of contracts in Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar and Benin, among others, highlighted Ericsson’s growing footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa as communications service providers moved to strengthen their networks and cater to demand for enhanced mobile services.

In Europe, more service providers were forwarding their 5G agendas with Ericsson. Telia and Ericsson switched on Estonia’s first commercial 5G network, powered by Ericsson 5G technology including Ericsson Radio System products and solutions and using hardware produced in Estonia. In the Czech Republic, Ericsson and wholesale telecom infrastructure company, CETIN, signed a five-year contract to bring 5G to the nation.

The November 2020 Ericsson Mobility Report was released, estimating that by the end of this year, more than 1 billion people – 15 percent of the world’s population – will live in an area that has 5G coverage rolled out. In 2026, 60 percent of the world’s population will have access to 5G coverage, with 5G subscriptions forecast to reach 3.5 billion.

December: Ericsson closes a strong performance year

More 5G deals were unveiled including in Greece, where the  company was selected by WIND Hellas as its mobile core network vendor for standalone and non-standalone 5G, as well as its BSS partner. Ericsson will deliver a powerful transformation to Wind Hellas’ existing 2G/3G/4G packet core and signaling infrastructure and enable them to deploy their first standalone 5G network.

In Slovakia, Ericsson was chosen by Slovak Telekom to deliver its 5G Radio Access Network and switch on 5G commercial services as of December 10, while Japan’s KDDI selected Ericsson to deploy cloud-native, dual-mode 5G Core, enabling the launch of 5G Standalone services in its network.  

December also saw the publication of Ericsson ConsumerLab’s annual 10 Top Consumer Trends report and the unveiling of the 2020 Ericsson Innovation Awards winners.

December also highlighted our Ericsson solutions are boosting public safety networks across some of Europe’s remotest communities in the Faroe Islands, as well as showcasing how Ericsson innovation could bring mobile connectivity to the seas and change the marine industry as we know it – and how Ericsson network-on-a-drone innovation could transform emergency disaster response.

Ericsson and Singtel announced the acceleration of their 5G partnership in Singapore through the deployment of high-end 5G technology enabled by 5G New Radio (NR) Standalone and dual-mode 5G core network products and solutions.

As the year closes out, Ericsson has 122 commercial 5G agreement or contracts with unique communications service providers, 68 publicly announced 5G contracts, and are live with 77 5G networks across the globe in 40 countries.

Read the original story here: https://www.topafricanews.com/2021/01/06/ericsson-year-in-review-2020/

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Ericsson: Intelligent connected machines to be a major part of life by 2030, consumers predict

  • Early tech-adopter consumers predict intelligent connectivity to enable services that go way beyond the mobile broadband experiences of today
  • Consumer expectations on smarter connectivity are higher than for any other connected intelligent machine type
  • These predictions about connected intelligent machines point to opportunities for 5G service providers for new intelligent network services.

Consumers expect connected technology to become more flexible and interactive going forward and see devices enabling more pro-active, and even creative choices in a wide range of everyday life situations by 2030.

The tenth edition of the Ericsson ConsumerLab10 Hot Consumer Trends report highlights consumer predictions about the various roles that connected intelligent machines could take on going forward. Each of these roles could be seen as new service areas, opening a range of opportunities for 5G service providers to gradually extend intelligent networks to their customers.

At Ericsson Research, our vision is that advances in AI and cellular communications technology will enable connected intelligent machines to securely communicate across the networks of tomorrow. In the process, they could make the world more responsive to consumer needs than ever before, given that consumers predict intelligent connectivity to enable services that go way beyond the mobile broadband experiences of today.

Based on long-standing global trend research, the ConsumerLab10 Hot Consumer Trends 2030 report represents the expectations and predictions of 50 million early technology adopters across 15 major cities.

In this study, respondents rated 112 connected intelligent machine concepts, ranging from a human-centered to a more rational perspective. The result is an overview of the 10 roles consumers expect connected intelligent machines to take in everyday life by 2030. Each trend in the report depicts a specific role that such machines could take.

Dr. Michael Björn, Head of Research Agenda, Ericsson Consumer &IndustryLab, and author of the report, says: “I was surprised to see that consumer expectations on smarter connectivity are higher than for any other connected intelligent machine type. The Connectivity Gofers trend includes predictions that devices will intelligently adapt to any signal, with use of cellular, Wi-Fi and fixed connectivity being seamless, as well as smart signal locators that guide users to spots with optimal coverage even in crowded areas.”

“This points to opportunities for 5G service providers to gradually extend intelligent networks to cover a whole range of new services for their customers, and each of the machine roles we present in this report could be seen as a whole new service area.”

“The Community Bots trend, for example, highlights the role machine intelligence could take in providing much needed community services. The Explainers puts forward the idea that all connected devices need to be able to explain themselves to users, and Sustainability bots focuses on the increased need for localized intelligent climate advice going forward.”

“What all of these potential services have in common is that they rely on intelligently communicating across devices and thus puts the networking aspect even more in the front seat than today.”

The 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2030

  1. Body bots: Get a power-up – 76 percent of consumers predict there will be intelligent posture-supporting suits.
  2. Guardian angels: Three-quarters believe that privacy guardians will help fool surveillance cameras and block electronic snooping.
  3. Community bots: Seventy-eight percent believe electronic watchdog services will alert neighborhood allies to any trespassers.
  4. Sustainability bots: Future weather will be extreme – 82 percent believe devices will share data and warn about local rain torrents or heat blasts.
  5. Home officers: WFH uninterrupted – 79 percent say smart speakers will project noise-canceling walls around the home office space.
  6. Explainers: Over 8 in 10 predict automated financial management systems that explain how your investments are handled.
  7. Connectivity gofers: Smart signal locators will be able to guide you to optimal connectivity spots, say 83 percent of consumers.
  8. Baddie bots: A baddie bot that can be trained to carry out burglaries or attack other people is wanted by 37 percent of AR/VR users.
  9. Media creators: Machines will curate content. Sixty-two percent think game consoles will make original games based on their game play.
  10. Bossy bots: Around 7 in 10 believe that social network AIs will understand your personality and build up a circle of friends that is good for your mental and physical wellbeing.

Read the ConsumerLab Hot Consumer Trends 2030 report here

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Digital inclusion: What does equal access to education mean in the digital age?

By Zohra Yermeche, Program Director for Connect To Learn at Ericsson

The COVID-19 crisis, and the impact which it has had on learning across the world, has highlighted many of the digital disparities which exist in today’s world. At a time when many of the world’s students shifted from physical to digital, we were also faced with the hard truth that today there are still 3.6 billion people in the world who are unconnected.

For students in the connected half of the world, the story is much different. While 1.2 billion children were affected by school closures across much of the world, our recent Consumer COVID-19 report found that students were able to substitute physical learning by spending 230 percent more time on digital learning tools such as Google Class, Epic! and Seesaw Class.

This of course is a significant rise, but it is also an acceleration of a trend which we have steadily been tracking since our first Connect To Learn program exactly ten years ago.

The State of Broadband 2020 report estimates that there are twice as many people today who use the Internet compared to 2010. This rise in digital literacy, together with the imminent period of rapid digitalization of the economy, means that ensuring fair and equal access to both education and future job markets will rest on the extent of digital inclusion within our societies.

What is digital inclusion and why is it so important today?

Today, technology plays a much bigger role in the quality and scope of how we learn, such as new digital learning platforms which are estimated to reach 350 billion USD by 2025; what we learn, with a growing emphasis on programming, robotics, AI and automation; and how we can use it in the job market, with digital skillsets increasingly becoming a prerequisite of tomorrow’s workforce.

The changes which are happening today show the disparity between the developed and undeveloped world. If you are not connected, that shows you the leap which you have to make between the connectivity aspect, access to education and benefits which are derived from that.

Closing this digital divide, with those who are not connected or not considered to be digitally literate, is imperative to ensuring a fair distribution of digital opportunities across countries, locations, gender, socioeconomic status, and age.

Impact of digital inclusion on GDP and the job market

Ten years ago,  geopolitical discussions largely focused on competence development for teachers, with little priority given to digital policy beyond essential connectivity requirements.

Today, the policy landscape is beginning to look very different and the emergence of the digital economy is driving this change. For example, when we look at digital inclusion in the context of the job market, it is predicted that the 5G digital economy alone will create 22.3 million jobs worldwide in the coming decade. This has repercussions on GDP too, as having a workforce that is not digitally skilled is of course not compatible with a digitized economy.

As such, we already see today how governments are prioritizing digital inclusion in their policy agendas, notably at this year’s G20 summit. There seems to be more emphasis and regulation to support digital education, and the impact that has on an awakening of the rest of the economy.

While governments first priority in digitalizing their societies is on setting up the tools, providing connectivity to enable tomorrow’s digital services, it’s also important that people know how to use them and how to use them responsibly. Digital literacy and capacity building are some key elements that governments and private enterprises should continue to work on in the next few years. These efforts must be well coordinated, scaled up and based on evidence-based policymaking, as laid out in the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation (page 8).

Access to education in the digital age

In 2010, we co-founded the Connect To Learn initiative with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Millennium Promise, with a focus on delivering connectivity and ICT tools to enhance teaching and learning in unconnected, underprivileged and largely unrepresented communities.

Since our first projects in the Millennium Villages, we’ve helped to connect and increase the digital inclusion of more than 200,000 students worldwide. As the program has evolved, we have increased our efforts to close the digital divide not just in terms of connectivity, but from a content, syllabus and platform side which is fundamental.

As a technology company, we quickly discovered that we can offer so much more than connectivity, but furthermore can help improve learning processes and methodologies so learning can become more impactful. For example, through partnerships with like-minded organizations, we have helped to digitalize and disseminate content through digital learning tools such as mobile apps.

One of the biggest differences from ten years ago is also that the nature of technology in an educational context, both as a medium and a means to enter the job market was still relatively immature as the landscape has evolved, we’ve come to understand the need to personalize and individualize learning so that we can improve learning outcomes in a meaningful way.

Giving people access to the right type of content is one aspect, another equally critical aspect is the human element. On top of the digital layer, students will still always need the engagement, inspiration and activation that comes from teachers and trainers who know about the topic. I believe that, even in the digital age, technology will never be able to replace this interaction, but rather can serve as an increasingly innovative medium for those critical learner-instructor interactions, such as through the Internet of Skills.

Digital inclusion through public-private partnerships

Today, there is a significant need for digital skills courses. Key technology areas such as AI, robotics and app development are advancing at such a rapid pace, which can make it difficult to ensure an effective transfer of competence to emerging workforces.

Such is the pace of change for topics such as these, public academic institutions will invariably struggle to take learning beyond a basic theoretical level. Public-private partnerships will therefore be key to addressing this, by developing advanced curriculums and delivering the necessary quality and scale of access.

As a sustainability pioneer in the private sector, we’ve understood the power of partnership, which is why we’re investing heavily in building out those partnerships with like-minded entities to create sustainable solutions in order to address the issues which the education sector faces today. A good example of this is the Ericsson Digital Lab program which is now live in several countries in partnership with local schools and community learning centers. The aim here is to share those competences that we have in-house on a much broader scale, addressing those critical skillset demands which are needed in tomorrow’s workforce.

This year, in response to the impact which COVID-19 has had on learning, we continuing these efforts by joining the UNESCO-led Global Education Coalition, launching Ericsson Educate and partnering with UNICEF to map school connectivity as part of the  Giga project.

Through digital methodologies, and with a focus on improving digital skills for students across all communities, our commitment is to ensure that future generations continue to have the skills and knowledge to find opportunity in a changing digital world. This was what we set out to do when we launched Connect To Learn ten years ago, and this will continue to be our priority in this next critical decade of action.  

Learn more

In 2020, Ericsson’s Connect to Learn program celebrates ten years of bridging the global digital divide. To find out more about our various programs, visit our Connect To Learn page.

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Hooza Media launches its video streaming services

  • A response to the increase need of video streaming to extend branded content to a tech centric audience;
  • An innovation for virtual conferencing and outdoor events;
  • Powering Rwanda’s internet network and promote digital inclusion;

Hooza, a Rwandan based media and tech house is unveiling its IP based live video streaming solution as a response to the increase need of remote video conferencing solution.

The digital technology will support effort from corporate and institutions to streamline their internal workflow with remote workplaces as it has been the norm since the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdown.

Hooza Media IP video streaming will focus on a customer centric approach where workgroups, health workers, humanitarians, students, can work via a video webinar interface in an office, a class or a conference configuration.

Hooza is training its clients in order to support SME’s transformation strategies and NGO constraints to optimize performances leading to faster decision making process with remote workers and stakeholders.

IP video streaming services by Hooza media comes after a series of innovative products and services Hooza has launched in Rwanda and 10 African countries since 2013 that include mass awareness audio service for mobile broadcast and voice survey and polls over feature phones.

About Hooza:

Hooza is a Rwandan based convergent media using digital opportunities to offer innovative experience to access content since 2013.

Using unified platforms, we broadcast on-demand text, voice and video programs accessible to all mobile users in Africa.

The firm has more than a decade of experience in broadcast programming, media and marketing managed services.

Hooza’s mission is to offer innovative media services and a unique communications expertise.

The company can be reached at: press@hooza.rw and www.hooza.rw.

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Ericsson discusses accelerating Africa’s digital future at AfricaCom 2020

  • Ericsson experts to highlight the role of connectivity in powering Africa’s digital future
  • Focus on improving connectivity and bridging the digital divide

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) will discussits digital transformation and innovation solutions to propel Africa towards the future at AfricaCom, part of Africa Tech Festival, a virtual event taking place from November 9 to 12, 2020.

At the event, Ericsson willfocus on the role of connectivity in powering Africa’s digital future and in achieving a positive impact on people’s lives. As part of its keynotes and speaker sessions,Ericsson will cover topics such as how to realize the opportunities of a digitalized Africa, how smarter networks will accelerate Africa’s digital agenda, the progress and prospects of 5G in Africa, and howArtificial Intelligence (AI) and automation creates value across the lifecycle of network operations.

Ericsson will also host a roundtable about bridging the digital divide by focusing on connectivity for schools and learners. The Giga initiative is a UNICEF and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) initiative to connect every school, which identifies internet access for education as a key enabler for today’s youth. 

The unprecedented events of 2020 have brought into focus the critical role that digital infrastructure plays in the functioning of almost every aspect of contemporary society. Africa is home to over a billion people and the population is expected to grow in the coming years. It is also a continent with the most growing economies. ICT is essential for Africa’s development and adequate ICT service deployment and digital connectivity will play a crucial role in achieving economic sustainability in the continent.

Ericsson is excited to participate at this year’s AfricaCom to continue setting #AfricaInMotion. Register here for your free pass to join Ericsson’s sessions and roundtable: https://tmt.knect365.com/africacom/

Follow our hashtag #AfricaInMotion for live updates from the event.

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Africa in Motion: Driving innovation, economic growth & societal inclusion

By: Nora Wahby, Vice President and Head of Ericsson West Africa & Morocco

All around the world, digital transformation is becoming a critical factor in long-term, sustainable economic development, and Africa is no exception. With two decades of experience behind me, I feel a lot of pride in being part of a digital transformation journey with Ericsson which allows me to share my love of technology and how it can accelerate socio-economic prosperity towards the people of Africa.

We, at Ericsson, believe that ICT has the ability to level the global playing field and enable African countries to harness the full potential of their human capital. Almost two years ago, I landed in Africa for my first business trip to meet the team and customers in Senegal. Not only did the career move appeal to my sense of adventure and exploration, I was excited about the life-changing experiences about to unfold.

I did not know about the culture except few stories from my father who had visited Dakar in the 80s and who talked a lot about the kindness of the people and how much he loved the food, the music and the colors. 

As a business leader, my personal purpose ties very well into Ericsson’s vision in accelerating the broadband adoption in Africa. Ericsson’s vision calls for us to connect the unconnected because we believe that access to communication is a basic human need. We believe people in rural parts of Africa will benefit greatly from mobile connectivity, which greatly increases access to information and services that support health, education and small businesses.

In a world where all Africans have access to quality education and health service, this young continent will keep beating with endless opportunities building on a rich heritage, a vibrant culture and a young population dreaming of the future. Driven by a desire to better understand the needs of mobile users in Africa and provide them with specialized services, I committed to the vision of an empowered Africa through technology, innovation and the principles of digital inclusion. In my heart I’m determined to put #AfricaInMotion

A Connected Africa

Operating in a very mature and competitive market that has grown significantly in the last ten years, telecommunication service providers in Africa are playing an increasingly important role in helping both governments and cities deepen their understanding about the concrete steps they can take to increase Africa’s competitiveness in the global economy through supporting and encouraging the increased use of ICT.

Connectivity not only offers great potential to transform cities and industries, but it also fosters inclusion and makes a positive, sustainable economic impact. With the ambition of supporting the acceleration of Africa’s digitization journey, we are working jointly with our customers – the service providers – and other stakeholders across the continent to enable #AfricaInMotion. The campaign highlights the continent’s potential to accelerate digital adoption and leapfrog into a new era of socio-economic prosperity.

One example is financial inclusion through the use of digital technology as an essential element in furthering the economic development of Africa. Mobile money services have become an essential, life-changing tool across the continent for both women and men, providing access to safe and secure financial services but also to energy, health, education and employment opportunities.

In my opinion, putting this campaign into action for Ericsson is key to strengthening Africa’s digital future underpinned by connectivity. Also, I am greatly encouraged by the fact that our attempt to foster inclusion and bridge the digital divide carries significant potential to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.

Spurring Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery

During an unprecedented crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of fixed and mobile networks as the backbone of our society has become more apparent than ever before. Given the current speed and capacity of cellular networks with LTE, there are opportunities for African service providers to deliver broadband services to homes and small and medium-sized enterprises economically using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).Several factors are driving the FWA market in Africa and beyond: demand from consumers and businesses for digital services along with government-sponsored programs and subsidies. 

Africa had my heart from Day 1, with its natural beauty, rich culture and friendly people. I have always felt welcome here. I am convinced that high-speed mobile connectivity will be instrumental in providing a stable platform for innovation and economic growth in the continent, not  least when we factor in the big potential that is still untapped by unlocking ecosystems and digitalizing our industry verticals such as the health sector, energy and utilities, transportation, agriculture, etc.

With the help of smart, long-term investments in infrastructure – including mobile broadband, fixed wireless access and fintech services.

-end-

For more, contact press@hooza.rw

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Ericsson launches Graduate Program in Africa to help innovate the future

  • Program to fast-track and train potential leaders and innovators to engage with the most exciting technology on the planet
  • Fresh graduates to work with pioneers in ICT and advanced thinkers in their chosen field
  • Ericsson offers virtual training programs for recent graduates during the pandemic

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has announced the launch of its 2020 edition of the Graduate Program in Africa.The program aims to grow the technical skills of the graduates,train them in the Ericsson technology, solutions and their delivery and understanding our processes, methods and tools. In addition, getting exposed to working in a large global matrix driven organization in terms of the ways of working, understanding vision, mission, strategies, corporate culture and values of the company. All this to get geared up to meet the business challenges of the future.

We believe this graduate program helps build local talent for our African markets and helps build into our long-term commitment to develop and grow our business in Africa.This way we access the best talent and provide them careers in a global environment, over a period of time.

Caroline Berns, Head of Talent Acquisition at Ericsson Middle East and Africa says: “The Fresh Graduate Program in Africa is designed to give graduates’ career an added momentum at just the right time – maximizing the skills they have gained in the course of their degree, adding more to their repertoire and equipping them to make a positive impact on the continent. Aiming to attract and guide the most talented, innovative and creative technology minds, the programs offers graduates an opportunity to engage with the most exciting technology on the planet and the challenges it brings.”

The Graduate Program helps Ericsson to move the needle on gender equality within the field of technology;half of the graduates hired are women. This is in alignment with Ericsson Educate andlocal Connect to Learn projects which empower women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and leverage connectivity to increase access to education for children, especially girls. 

Our young graduates with curious andinnovative minds, work alongside the brightest minds in the industry and work on projects that are changing the world of communication and thus become the future of the telecoms industry in Africa.

Due to the sudden and unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Graduate Program will run virtually for the time being, and will focus on graduates in Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan and Angola. Applications are now closed for this phase but the program is expected to roll out in more countries in the continent during a second phase. Interested candidates can sign up for the job alert on Ericsson.com/careers to be informed immediately when new programs are being opened.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For media kits, backgrounders and high-resolution photos, please visit www.ericsson.com/press