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A story of innovation

Innovations with impact

Since day one, we have been committed to innovation and to the global ecosystems that support it.

In the beginning we revolutionized analogue communications with new switching techniques and technology. When the digital revolution came we were first there too. When broadband was in its infancy we were already working on the technology that would become 3G, and we were developing 4G long before the smartphone became ubiquitous.

Every innovation has a story of its own, with a lot of great people joining together to challenge traditional ways of thinking.

Since the dawn of telecommunications, Ericsson has put enormous time and effort into collaborating with others to set the open standards that make global communications and connections possible.

Here below you find some examples of our innovations that have had significant impact for people, business and society, but first, our technology of today.

Technology of today


Transform your future network with innovations

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Internet of Things

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Managed Services

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woman streaming a movie on a tablet

HEVC – making video more available

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a video compression standard that provides more features and the same level of video quality at half the bitrate required by its predecessor. HEVC is therefore a game changer for applications such as video conferencing, ultra-high definition TV and streaming video.

Consumers are accessing video via mobile networks as never before, and it's a trend that doesn't look set to change anytime soon. Services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime video are increasingly popular, and few things irritate viewers more than video loading delay or uneven playback caused by network lagging.

HEVC technology is crucial in terms of helping operators overcome these problems and to keep pace with consumer video demands. It is also a key enabler for immersive and 360 video applications, further enhancing the user experience.

Radio Dot System – improving the indoor experience

With between 70 and 90 percent of data traffic originating indoors, Ericsson launched the Radio Dot System in 2013, vastly improving coverage, capacity and performance. Featuring optimized LTE technology and weighing only 300g, this low-cost access point features an innovative antenna element combined with a distributed architecture with centralized baseband. Installation is quick and easy, without any need for extensive cabling or construction.

The system enables the provision of high-level mobile broadband coverage for different kinds of users and spaces, in everything from high-rise office buildings to sports stadiums.

Ericsson radio dot system


group of people sitting at computers at a long table

4G LTE – the advent of high-speed mobile broadband

As the demand for mobile data increased and the need to develop the fourth generation of networks became more and more apparent, Ericsson's reputation for innovation and spearheading the development of standards continued grow.

In 2007, US operator Verizon paved the way for a joint global standard for the first time in history by abandoning its own plans and adopting Ericsson's LTE concept. Two years later, Ericsson launched the world's first live LTE network in Sweden.

LTE offers superior user experience with simplified technology for next-generation mobile broadband, and Ericsson's LTE RAN network currently supports download speeds up to 450Mbps in commercial networks.


WCDMA – making broadband mobile

WCDMA – making broadband mobileWCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) was adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in 2002, and the global rollout of high-speed broadband based on the technology began one year later.

The backbone of the first wave of 3G access, WCDMA subsequently evolved into HSPA, and the combination of the two (WCDMA/HSPA) continues to enjoy huge subscriber growth.

At the end of 2014, WCDMA/HSPA subscriptions had grown at 60 percent year-on-year, and the technology is expected to cover 90 percent of the world's population by 2020, serving some 4.5 billion subscribers.

WCDMA has proved to be a highly effective mobile broadband technology, and it is likely to continue to serve both traditional and emerging markets for many years to come.

WCDMA – making broadband mobile


woman standing in parking lot talking on the phone

AMR speech codec – making voices heard

The adaptation of the Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) audio codec as the industry standard in 1999 considerably improved the quality of voice calls. By offering eight different bitrates for the voice coding it can dynamically adopt to the existing link conditions resulting in an optimal user experience.

The AMR codec is now used in all 3G mobile phones, meaning that the technology is to be found in billions of devices all over the world.

As with many innovations, the work doesn't stop after rollout for commercial use, and Ericsson has driven the development of AMR-WB (AMR Wideband), the codec for HD voice in wireless networks.


Bluetooth – a new dimension in wireless connectivity

One of Ericsson's best-known innovations, this wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances has become ubiquitous since the first specification was released in 1999. In 2013, more than 2.5 billion products containing Bluetooth technology were shipped.

Named after the Danish king Harald "Blåtand" (Bluetooth) Gormsson, the technology was originally intended to allow mobile phones to connect with each other without using cables.

It was quickly discovered that the chip-and-antenna pairing could communicate with a lot more than mobile phones, and today Bluetooth is used in everything from portable speakers to cars, pairing devices into powerful combinations.

Bluetooth from Ericsson


GS88 – the world’s first “smartphone”

GS88 – the world’s first “smartphone”

In 1997, Ericsson broke new ground again, coining the term “smartphone” in conjunction with the unveiling of the GS88 handset – a full 10 years before Apple’s iPhone hit the shelves. Also known as “Penelope”, the GS88 used a Symbian operating system and featured a touch screen, a QWERTY keyboard and a stylus which was used to access its functions. Only 200 of these concept phones were produced.

The GS88 combined calling, e-mail, and web browsing, paving the way for the personal communications revolution that followed.


GSM 2G – digitizing mobile communications

Building on the success of NMT, the technological advancements of 2G GSM kick-started the process of miniaturization, which has ultimately led to the powerful, versatile phones that we have in our pockets today.

The technology shared many of the characteristics of NMT, but featured additional stringent security mechanisms. Powerful encryption for both SIM cards and digital speech transmission gave users an enormously improved level of security compared with analog mobile networks.

The GSM standard originally described a digital, circuit-switched network optimized for full duplex voice telephony.

Based on a strong desire to create a scalable, flexible standard that could be exported easily, Ericsson's vision for 2G was accepted by the Group Spécial Mobile in Paris in 1987, paving the way for its adoption by all European operators.

GSM 2G – digitizing mobile communications


Erlang - Ericsson

Erlang – a common language

Developed for use as a proprietary programming language within Ericsson. The language was primarily created to build massively scalable, soft, real-time systems with high availability requirements. Since it first appeared in 1986, it has been deployed in telecommunications, banking, e-commerce, computer telephony and instant messaging services such as WhatsApp Messenger and Facebook, as well as online retail giant Amazon

In 1998 Ericsson launched the AXD 301 switch, which was powered by over a million lines of Erlang code.

Erlang software was released as open source in 1998 and can now be found on millions of smartphones, and Ericsson uses it as a backbone for LTE.


NMT (1G) – making telephony mobile

NMT (Nordic Mobile Telephony) was the first generation of mobile telephony, laying the foundation for the communications revolution that has seen the mobile phone become an integral part of the daily lives of billions of people around the world. Though mobile telephony is still considered a relatively new phenomenon, the first NMT network went live on September 1, 1981 in Saudi Arabia, a development that was part of what was at that point the largest telecommunications contract ever signed.

One of the early goals of the process was to take the drama out of using mobile phones to make calls, and though it was still seen as something of a dramatic development when the cumbersome devices of the time were first made available to consumers, they quickly decreased in size before becoming ubiquitous.

NMT (1G) – making telephony mobile


AXE – a revolution in digital switching

AXE – a revolution in digital switching

When it was launched in 1976, AXE was the most advanced and flexible digital switching system on the market, and it saw Ericsson make the move from being an electromechanical manufacturer to a high-tech electronics producer.

Working together with Sweden's Televerket, Ericsson aimed to design an electronic switch that would serve both the domestic and export markets. Unveiled in 1976 in time for Ericsson's 100th anniversary, it was deployed operationally for the first time a year later 1977, and it was soon rolled out in countries from Finland and France to Saudi Arabia and Australia.

The innovation didn't end there, and a process of continuous improvement made AXE the market's most advanced and flexible switching system by the 1980s, doubling the company's market share and opening up the US market and making a major contribution to Ericssons's success with cellular systems.


Ericofon/Cobra – a design classic

With a sleek look that was available in a variety of vibrant colors, the Ericofon/Cobra telephone is a true classic of industrial design. First produced in 1954, it brought a dash of style to millions of homes and offices.

The original idea was to make a phone that was smaller, lighter and easier to use, and the innovative one-piece design and lightweight plastic delivered.
But despite its functional simplicity and reliability, it is the innovative design of the Cobra and the range of colors I was available in that is most memorable – so much so that it is included as part of the collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Put simply, the innovative design of the Cobra opened up a new world of exciting possibilities.

Ericofon/Cobra – a design classic


The 500 switch – connecting the world

The 500 switch – connecting the world

First deployed in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1923, the 500 switch quickly became the workhorse that powered the telephone networks of the time. The mechanical switch got its name from its capacity of 500 lines, which were entered in 25 multiple frames, with the wires arranged vertically in the switch rack in groups of 20 lines.

Creating this backbone of the world's burgeoning telephone network was a daunting challenge, requiring a long and thorough period of development and testing, and a considerable amount of innovation in terms of engineering science. But it was worth it; within eight years, Ericsson had delivered around 100 such stations, connecting callers all over the world using more than 350,000 lines.