Ericsson CEO predicts a year of digital disruption

BARCELONA, Spain -- Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg predicted that 2016 will be the year that every global industry experiences digital disruption, as the company announced various new deals at the Mobile World Congress, here.

Vestberg said digitisation is being driven by three key ICT forces: broadband, mobility and cloud computing. Together, those forces are bringing about rapid changes in value chains and business models, which in turn are transforming the way the Sweden-headquartered vendor works.

"Today, 66 per cent of our business comes from software and services; just years ago the majority was hardware," Vestberg said.

That shift from hardware to software means that the bulk of Ericsson's competitors are today "ICT players rather than telecommunications businesses," Vestberg explained, adding that the company is in the process of changing its portfolio of products "to keep pace with customer demands."

Vestberg explained that Ericsson is accelerating the pace of its changes as "industries and even whole societies" are "being disrupted by mobility, broadband and cloud".

Ericsson's CEO spoke as the company announced a raft of deals during the Barcelona show, including the development of a pre-standard 5G test system with T-Mobile U.S. that the vendor said would enable laboratory and field trials of the next generation technology to get underway in the country.

The vendor also announced a deal to deploy a telco cloud infrastructure and virtual network functions on the core network of Swiss incumbent Swisscom. Ericsson said the deal covers the provision of its Hyperscale Datacentre System 8000, Cloud Execution Environment, Cloud SDN and Cloud Manager.

Ericsson is set to provide the same equipment to Spain-headquartered operator Telefónica, the vendor announced separately. The operator chose Ericsson as one of its main global partners in a cloud-based virtualisation project named UNICA, and will see Ericsson first deploy the equipment for Telefónica Germany later in 2016.

For more:
- read Vestberg's comments
- view the vendor's T-Mobile U.S. announcement
- see Ericsson's Swisscom statement
- read the company's Telefónica release

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