[HERALD INTERVIEW] Ericsson-LG to join hands with Korean mobile stars: chief

  • Published : Feb 16, 2017 - 16:33
  • Updated : Feb 16, 2017 - 16:33
Ericsson-LG CEO Patrick Johansson (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Ericsson-LG, a network equipment and solution provider, will expand its business in South Korea to mobile and media services, taking advantage of the country’s fast internet speed, said the company’s CEO Patrick Johansson.

The company, established between Sweden’s largest network business and LG Electronics in 2010, is now in talks with leading mobile businesses such as Naver and Kakao in order to help improve the efficiency of mobile services and experience for customers, he said.

“Naver and Kakao are big and unique to Korea,” Johansson said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald. “It is so important to work with them in the Korean market.”

Johansson gave kudos to Korean mobile firms citing their uniqueness focused on the Korean market only, but suggested Ericsson might help them expand their angles to an international level, for example, by launching services for international users.

“The Olympics can be an excellent opportunity for them to serve foreigners, if they provide English (versions),” he said.

Globally, Ericsson is working with Facebook to help its services run more efficiently on mobile devices.

“We are working to provide not only our services but also products to those companies,” the CEO said. “My job is to make sure we partner with this entire ecosystem, and these players are very important in this ecosystem.”

Ericsson-LG has been working mostly with local mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, which has contributed to developing multiple generations of telecommunication network system and today’s long-term advanced network. The Swedish company first entered Korea in 1896 during the Joseon Dynasty, and established the fixed telephony system across the country.

The company mainly provides core equipment for network stations, including radio antenna systems, and technological solutions for mobile infrastructure.

Now calling itself “ICT transformation partner,” the company is reaching out to not only large mobile service providers but also small startups with innovative ideas to join hands ahead of commercialization of the 5G network.

Immersive media, referring to virtual reality and augmented reality content, is also a key area of Ericsson‘s business portfolio, in which the company is seeking cooperation with local media companies.

“Opportunities for 5G are so big that we need collaboration with players in various industries,” Johansson said.

The upcoming fifth-generation telecommunication system will bring about changes in everyday life of consumers across industries, he added.

“Connected cars and remote medical services are what 5G can be mainly used for.”

Ericsson is currently collaborating with BMW Korea and SK Telecom on connected cars. The three recently succeeded in implementing the fastest data transfer technology in a car traveling a 170 kilometers per hour.

The company is also globally working with Volvo and China’s Geely to develop a 5G-based infotainment system for cars.

Most would understand the 5G system as a network with higher speed, but Johansson highlighted that it also means longer battery life and near-zero latency time for safer driving and medical service delivery.

“Going from 4G to 5G will not be same as going from 3G to 4G,” he said. “With 5G, we will get the speed, but also a challenge of getting optimized battery life, which we aim to achieve up to 10 years.”

Having latency of less than 1 millisecond in a 5G environment, there will be a lot more applications of new technologies coming from different industries, according to Johansson.

“With such latency, you can feel your smartphone react as soon as you touch it and have remote surgery and other remote services with high precision,” he said.

The 5G network can also improve the mining industry by remotely controlling equipment operating underground.

To Johansson, the concept of 5G is very much like building a completely new platform.

“Ericsson’s vision is a networked society where every person and industry can realize their potential, which 5G will help through with connected devices with higher speed, latency and improved battery life,” he said.

By Song Su-hyun (