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Ericsson Chief Sees a Bright Future

CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg on Ericsson's multistandard radio base, whether the industry can agree on a fourth-gen network, and more

Sweden's Ericsson (ERIC) is the world's largest seller of wireless telecom equipment, but it took a huge hit in the third quarter last year (BusinessWeek.com, 10/16/07) due to an unexpected decline in sales for its high-margin software and network-upgrade businesses. The company relies on these more profitable sales to offset lower margins in new network construction, especially in the developing world, where it has been discounting heavily to grab business away from rivals Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Nokia Siemens Networks (NOK, SI), and Nortel Networks (NT).

During a week in which the industry buzzed with rumors of mergers and debated next-generation networks, BusinessWeek's Jennifer L. Schenker spoke with Ericsson Chief Executive Carl-Henric Svanberg at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among the topics: when he expects an uptick in business from carriers in developed markets; how the global economic slowdown will affect the infrastructure business; and whether the industry can agree on a single fourth-generation standard.