• Connecting 50 billion devices will require change in technology and business models
  • Telecom to transform other industries such as health, transport, media, government, utilities
  • People willing to spend substantially more to connect additional portable devices, beyond PC and telephone

At the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) President and CEO Hans Vestberg encouraged the telecom industry to grasp its additional growth opportunities and lead beneficial change in society.

"By leveraging our joint capabilities, we can transform other industries such as health, transport, media, government and utilities. Broadband will not only play a key role in creating new business models that transform economies, but it will also reduce carbon emissions from all the ways we work and live," he said.

In the speech, Vestberg described the levels of transformation reaching across society, business, and especially people, where changing behaviors and the growth of mobile broadband subscriptions lend support for the vision that 50 billion devices will be connected. "People want their devices to be connected and they are willing to pay for it," he said.

Ericsson ConsumerLab has just completed a study in which survey respondents suggested that an acceptable range of spending is between 29 and 46 dollars per month for a combination of extra devices.

Vestberg urged industry partners and colleagues to collaborate on standardization and new thinking to take advantage of growth opportunities. "We're in a unique situation. I'm optimistic about this industry but there are challenges. We need standardization to drive down costs and drive up traffic, and we need diverse payment plans," he said.

Mobile broadband has moved from being nice to have in our world, to being a necessity. "We used to decide when to go online, but now we decide when we should go offline," Vestberg pointed out. "That desire, to be always connected, plus lower prices of smartphones, affordable laptops and netbooks gives our industry a huge opportunity for growth."

The CEO stressed that the change in telecoms affects more than the wealthy world. "Our world faces two major challenges today: poverty and climate. Our industry can play a vastly important role in these issues," Vestberg said.

Notes to editors:

Youtube: Hans Vestberg at the press conference at MWC in Barcelona

Youtube: On Hans Vestberg's whiteboard

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Ericsson is the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices. 

Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the "prime driver in an all-communicating world" through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 80,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX NASDAQ, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.

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