Ericsson bets on mobile broadband, cloud

Company pushes vision of "networked society", where anything that can benefit from a network will be connected, focusing on mobile broadband and cloud services to help bring forth this future.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

BARCELONA--Ericsson is looking at mobile broadband and cloud services to drive its efforts toward a "networked society" and announces a partnership with content delivery provider, Akamai, to push content to mobile devices.

During his keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow here Monday, Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg promoted the concept of a networked society, in which "anything that can be benefited by a network will be connected". In fact, the networking equipment vendor last year predicted that by 2020, the world will have 50 billion connected devices, he said.

According to Vestberg, the three factors that will bring this vision to fruit are mobility, broadband and cloud.

He noted that the number of mobile subscribers is expected to balloon from 5.3 billion at the end of 2010 to reach 7 to 8 billion in 2015, adding that this does not include machine-to-machine adoption.

For operators, broadband has become one of the most important revenue growth areas, he said, adding that mobile broadband adoption is growing so fast that, by 2015, network traffic passing through smart devices is expected to equal that of PC.

Mobile broadband will have a huge impact on society as it is able to reach more people, said Vestberg. He added that among the 500 million smart devices in the world, about 50 percent of overall traffic pass through Ericsson's networks.

To boost its capability to provide the right content to the right smart device at the right time, the company today signed an exclusive partnership with content delivery company, Akamai. The deal will leverage Ericsson's experience in provisioning data in networks as well as Akamai's relationship with content providers, to more efficiently deliver content to mobile consumers, said Vestberg.

Looking to the cloud
Ericsson is also looking to ride the cloud bandwagon and has been providing a range of cloud offerings such as hosted applications and services.

According to Vestberg, the company last year invested in India-based Novatium, which provides PC-as-a-service technology, and currently offers a PC-on-the-cloud service--targeted at operators--that will enable service providers to create new profit avenues from their existing network infrastructure.

At the company's exhibition booth, Novatium CTO Vinod Kumar Gopinath explained that its service differs from the competition because its provision spans from device to connectivity. Companies and individuals do not need to worry about the hardware specification, software, broadband connection or maintenance, he told ZDNet Asia.

The service was launched commercially two years ago and currently has about 40,000 users in India, said Gopinath. Users purchase the devices, priced from US$140, and pay about US$3 per month to use the service, he said.

Liau Yun Qing of ZDNet Asia reported from Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.

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