Ericsson chief executive officer Carl-Henric Svanberg talked up his company's outsourcing activities at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes yesterday, highlighting the importance of partnerships to the company as it moves ahead with third-generation network deployment.
"We estimate we have 35% market share in GSM infrastructure," he said, adding that the company has a similar lead in the 3G market, where it will have rolled out 46 networks by the end of this year.
Ericsson is also keeping a discreet presence in the mobile handset market despite handing off most of its mobile phone operations to its joint venture subsidiary, Sony Ericsson.
The parent company's continued direct presence in the mobile phone market is through its Ericsson Mobile Platforms (EMP) division, which designs phone systems for other manufacturers.
EMP has 12 customers for its design services, including Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics, according to EMP president Sandeep Chennakeshu.
Sharp will use an EMP design for its new dual-mode mobile phones, said Ericsson. The design, based on Ericsson's U100 platform, is for phones capable of running on GPRS and 3G WCDMA networks.
Ericsson will maintain half of the mobile phone network belonging to Orange. The GSM network is composed of equipment from a number of suppliers; Ericsson will provide field services for about half the network through a special organisation established for the purpose, it said.
Svanberg modestly suggested that Ericsson offered operators price advantages, rather than quality.
"We're not better operators than they are, but we have synergies. We are all over the world, our ability to be there exceeds everyone else's in the industry," he said.
Ericsson also plans to be there for companies looking for hosted application and content management services. It has won contracts to run a portal service for British mobile phone users and a picture messaging service for a US phone company.
In the UK, Ericsson will host and manage the BT Mobile World portal for BT Group's mobile data services customers. The portal will deliver ring tones, Java games and information services to start with, but will be capable of delivering multimedia messaging and streaming services later.
BT opened the portal to some of its customers earlier this month. Ericsson will supply and integrate other elements of the portal as the service expands.
For Alltel in the US, Ericsson will host and operate a MMS system for users of the company's CDMA mobile phone service.
Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service