Jeanette Irekvist, President Ericsson Canada, reflects on 70 years of the company’s past, present and future.
Canada is a massive country with expansive borders and challenging terrain – building networks will always be a challenge across such a huge country. Ericsson has been a part of that journey in connecting Canadians for 70 years and we can’t wait to continue to be a part of that story for the next 70!
Technology is changing faster than ever. With the expansion of 5G and progress in AI and automation, the years ahead will be an inflection point as we continue to unleash the power of faster network access, stronger IoT connectivity and digital transformation across industries. This year marks our 70th year in Canada, where we continue to contribute to Canada’s innovation ecosystem. We’re proud of the changes Ericsson has been able to spearhead in Canada and look forward to more.
Celebrating 70 years in Canada
This year marks Ericsson’s 70th year in Canada. And as we look to commemorate this significant milestone, I’d like to reflect on some of the positive changes that Ericsson has been able to bring about – as well as those that are on the way through our dedication and commitment to research and development here.
70 years ago, in 1953, Ericsson came to Canada and specifically, Montreal, under the name Ericsson Telephone Sales of Canada Ltd. Later, a contract was signed for the company to deliver automatic routing stations for internal long-distance calls across the country, making Ericsson a foundational presence in Canada and an active partner in connecting Canadians. Since then, Ericsson has been on a journey to connect Canadians.
Today in 2023, we are committed to enabling Canada’s industries to lead on the world stage, supporting major service providers on their path to nationwide 5G rollout and collaborating with leading players from both academia and wider industry. It’s all part of our long-standing dedication to drive innovation and ensure digital inclusion for all Canadians. We provide 5G infrastructure products and services for Bell, EastLink, Rogers, TELUS, Videotron and Xplornet and live 5G commercial networks across the country. We enable private network solutions as well as transport and critical infrastructure to remote mines and utilities across the country through client partnerships with Ambra, Hydro BC, Hydro One, Hydro Quebec and more.
Proudly Connecting Canadians
Since coming to Canada in 1953, Ericsson has played an integral role in the country’s technology ecosystem and R&D story, helping Canadians imagine and realize the possibilities of unlimited connectivity. During its early years, Ericsson sold crossbar switches to several Canadian companies in addition to supplying routing stations. Ericsson expanded its offerings in the following decades, signing a contract in 1984 to deliver a national mobile telephone network for the AMPS-system to Rogers Cantel Inc. Later, Ericsson provided a $1,000,000 grant to the University of Waterloo to establish the Centre for Wireless Communication, Canada’s first academic program in wireless communications.
Today, Ericsson has expanded its presence in Canada to include more than 3,100 employees and several facilities located in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver and has established relationships with more than 20 post-secondary academic institutions.
By providing infrastructure products and services for nearly all of Canada’s major service providers and live 5G commercial networks across the country, we play a key role in evolving the telco industry in Canada. Sustainability is core to our purpose and we are proud to work with our partners to connect remote communities and bridge the digital divide for all Canadians.
Advancing Canadian Innovation
With state-of-the-art 5G R&D centers and offices in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, we’re working closely with partners to rollout a secure 5G network for the entire country and helping Canadians imagine – and realize – the possibilities of unlimited connectivity.
Ericsson is a critical part of Canada’s innovation ecosystem and R&D story. Our Canada-based R&D sites are critical hubs for innovation and allow us to fulfill worldwide mandates in development, testing and support of wireless networks as well as advanced user multimedia services. As one of the top-14 R&D spenders in Canada, with nearly $7 billion invested to date, we are deeply committed to advancing Canadian innovation.
Ericsson’s largest North American R&D site is in Ottawa, where researchers focus on Wireless Technology, Radio, RAN software, Cloud RAN and Service Management orchestration, along with AI and automation, leveraging innovative technologies to create data-driven, intelligent, and robust systems and networks.
The Ottawa site was established in 2010, occupies 25,000 sqm of building space, with over 4,300 sqm of space solely dedicated to lab operations. Ericsson Ottawa has a long history and strong background in wireless communications technologies and products. A strategic R&D center with end-to-end development capabilities, and one of the few Verification Centres for Ericsson worldwide, it continues to fulfill worldwide mandates and its products are delivered to the global market.
It’s all part of our long-standing dedication to driving innovation and ensuring digital inclusion for all Canadians. At the end of the day, it’s exciting to see groundbreaking technology come to life – but the ability to connect people and drive positive change is always at the heart of what we do.
As we celebrate our 70-year journey in Canada, our sights are set firmly on the future and proudly connecting Canadians to world-class innovation and infrastructure that enables our industries to lead on the world stage.