Q&A Ulf Pehrsson
What is your background?
I've been at Ericsson for 15 years but before that I had a long spell at Sweden's ministry for foreign affairs as a diplomat dealing primarily with trade policy, exports and investment promotion, working in our embassies and so on. At Ericsson I also work mainly in the field of government affairs and trade policy for the company.
Ulf Pehrsson, Head of Government and Industry Relations, Ericsson
You are not a lawyer...
No – in an operator there's a high chance someone in my position would be a lawyer as those firms are heavily regulated. But Ericsson is a technology company and in fact my group is part of our sales organisation. So my role is much concerned with advocating for the conditions that will grow the market where we see ourselves as market leaders and developers. Regulation and policy are of course crucial in our industry and we are spending even more time on policy, in particular, because ICT is becoming the platform of innovation for all sectors of society and for all economies. Looking back at my time in Ericsson we have focused on traditional supply side issues, making sure conditions for telecoms network investment are there, such as spectrum, as well as general policies for free and open trade. These are no less important today but we now need to broaden more our scope on the demand side.
How do you summarise the most important issues today?
Our starting point is that we are a global company operating in 180 countries. The European Union today is only 20% of our revenues although we continue to base much of our R&D in Europe. In fact we are soon adding 2,000 more engineers based in Poland to our 14,000 strong R&D workforce here. Their focus is on mobile technology. We spend a lot of effort on pushing to free up more frequencies for mobile both in the short and long term, in particular now with 5G, and in promoting the need for harmonised global spectrum and standards on which the mobile industry has been built. We need global scale to achieve interoperability, accessibility and affordability in mobile technologies. We are also now busy in areas such as IP networks, television and the internet of things (IoT). Our new partnerships with Cisco and other firms will be crucial. This
We are already seeing some countries such as the US pushing ahead with bands that are not agreed by the ITU.
highlights how important policies on the demand side are now, and we are actively involved in key issues such as data protection and cross-border data flows. On our traditional area of global trade we have had recent success with the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) last December, which will lead to the elimination of tariffs for about 200 ICT related products. That has been a top priority for us.
April 2016, Volume 44 Issue 01
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- Monday, 13 March 2017