Ericsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm kicked off the company’s UnBoxed Office series of online events with a keynote speech delivered from his home. In the keynote, Ekholm addressed some of the most pressing challenges facing the mobile industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our highest priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, our customers and our partners,” said Ekholm. “We are working hard to do what we can to contribute to the efforts to contain and slow down the pandemic.”
Ekholm specifically emphasized the importance of reliable communications networks, noting that connectivity is an essential service and that Ericsson’s engineers are still working to maintain core infrastructure during the pandemic. Hospitals and other public health organizations need stable networks to deliver service. Mobile networks have also allowed economic activity to continue in a remote work environment. Overall traffic is up as much as 20 percent, with much of that traffic shifting from business to residential areas.
Ericsson itself now has 85,000 employees working regularly from home.
“More than ever, connectivity is key,” said Ekholm. “With the spread of COVID-19, fixed and mobile telecommunications networks have become an even bigger part of the critical infrastructure, showing the importance of quality connectivity.”
Ekholm went on to encourage public and private organizations to move forward with their 5G transformations, which is expected to facilitate the delivery of even better service in a number of different industries. He advised governments to pass legislation that incentivizes 5G investment and ensures that everyone has access to 5G technology.
Ericsson has moved forward with several new 5G projects since the onset of COVID-19. The company teamed up with Telenor to launch the first commercial 5G network in Norway, and is currently working with SmarTone to bring a 5G network to Hong Kong. Ekholm highlighted the company’s 5G initiatives at Ericsson’s recent AGM, which allowed remote participation.