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CES: Ericsson boss claims plenty of life left in 3G broadband

09 Jan 2013
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg

LAS VEGAS: The 3G wireless platform has a strong future despite the emergence of LTE wireless broadband networks, according to Ericsson chief executive Hans Vestberg.

Speaking with V3 at the 2013 CES conference, Vestberg said that Europe in particular has plenty of room to not only improve coverage and reliability with 3G, but also boost broadband speeds.

"3G has a lot of potential," Vestberg said. "When I became CEO, 14.4Kbit/s was the maximum speed of HSPA. We are now deploying 84Mbit/s, so there is a lot more to be done on 3G."

He noted that Europe in particular has the potential to extend the lifespan of 3G. As many countries in Europe were relatively late to adopt 3G, networks and equipment are newer and more expandable than in other regions of the globe.

Vestberg said that just three nations, Korea, Japan and the US make up most of the world's LTE infrastructure. In other regions, particularly those with the fastest growth, 3G still accounts for most wireless broadband.

He noted that in developing regions hardware prices prohibit many customers from purchasing the newer LTE-equipped smartphones, particularly as many carriers in those regions do not subsidise the models they offer.

"We are so into the subsidy, that does not fly in Asia, South America and Africa." Vestberg said.

"The handset price is so important for the dev of 2G and 3G, particularly 3G."

In addition to building and maintaining 3G networks, Vestberg believes that carriers should become more specialised to their customer bases. He said that by tailoring their pricing structure, applications and services to their customers bases, a carrier can offer a much better user experience.

"Operators around the world are investing a lot of networks, the speed of innovation is totally different," he said.

"Today it is another ball game, they will take different types of models."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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