Together with the Dutch company Philips, Ericsson received a huge order in 1978, beating out such formidable competitors as the US companies ITT and AT&T. The assignment called for increasing capacity in Saudi Arabia’s telephone network by more that 200 percent and installing the new computer-controlled AXE system.
This was Sweden’s largest export order ever and an extremely profitable deal for Ericsson. This was very welcome, since Ericsson had invested substantial sums in developing the new system.
The AXE system was also subjected to an acid test in which it succeeded brilliantly. The system was easy to install, and once installed, it worked perfectly.
The fact that the AXE could also be used for mobile telephone traffic meant that the Saudis wanted a mobile telephone network installed, too. Ericsson therefore installed a network based on the newly developed Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system.
Author: Centre for Business History, Stockholm