LAS VEGAS: SWEDISH PHONE MAKER Ericsson's CEO Hans Vestberg said that 3G wireless still has a strong future, despite the rise of LTE wireless broadband networks.
Speaking with The INQUIRER at the CES conference in Las Vegas, 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, 14.4kbps 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 buying 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 here, but that does not fly in Asia, South America and Africa," Vestberg said. "The handset price is so important for the [development] 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 its pricing structure, applications and services to its customer base, 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 ballgame, they will take different types of models." µ