Korean president, Ericsson differ over investment plan

Confusion reigns over a reported €1.1 billion investment by Ericsson in a new R&D center in South Korea.

The Korean presidential office said Monday, that Ericsson would invest that sum in a new test bed for green telecom and LTE technologies.

But Ericsson’s own statement following a meeting between President Lee Myung-bak and incoming CEO Hans Vestberg on Sunday referred only to collaboration on green and 4G technologies.

An Ericsson spokesperson told Telecoms Europe that the size of the investment had been incorrectly reported, but would not disclose how much the vendor was committing to the project.

The statement from Korea’s presidential office said in the next five years Ericsson would spend €1.1 billion in Korea, boosting the number of staff from 80 to some 1,000.

It added that the project was expected to attract the participation of some of the high-ranking businesses in Korea including Samsung and LG Electronics.

Ericsson officials have told the FT.com that it was “plausible” that the South Korea investment could reach Euro 1.1b, but maintained that the figure was “highly speculative.”