Ericsson is Swede on North America. The US subsidiary of Sweden-based global wireless network equipment leader Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson oversees the North American business of its parent company. Its core network products are antennas, transmitters, switching systems, and other gear used to build wireless telecommunications networks. Ericsson Inc. primarily serves network operators, transportation companies, utilities providers, and broadcasters in the US. Its growing services business offers consulting, network build-out, and network management and maintenance services. The company also makes multimedia software and related products that enable such digital media services as Internet television.
Ericsson units around the globe, including the North American business, are looking to wireless broadband content and media services, including mobile Internet and video, as drivers of growth in sales of wireless equipment. More than 20% of the company's global sales are made to customers in North America.
Ericsson reported strong demand in North America during 2011 for its mobile broadband network equipment including packet core, IP routers and microwave-based backhaul products. North America is the leading global market in terms of smartphone penetration and mobile data usage. The proliferation of mobile devices there, as well as the growth of machine-to-machine communication used for such applications as industrial supply chain management and utility meters, have contributed to demand from telecommuncations network operators and other companies for Ericsson's products.
The company's CDMA-based wireless gear, in particular, helped it boost market share in the region early in the year. Ericsson acquired Nortel's CDMA business in 2010 to significantly strengthen its position in North America. While CDMA revenues in the US and Canada increased somewhat in 2011, they declined towards the end of the year as carriers stepped up spending on next-generation LTE equipment to upgrade and expand their networks in support of increased mobile data traffic. This decline was offset partially by growth in Ericssson's services and multimedia segments.
In 2009 and 2010, Ericsson paid more than $1 billion in cash to buy mobile networking equipment product lines and assets from bankrupt Canadian supplier Nortel Networks as that failing company liquidated its holdings. The acquisitions, made in a series of deals, included key portions of Nortel's carrier networks division which supplied core CDMA wireless network gear to top network operators in North America. In Canada, Ericsson has long been a major supplier to the country's largest mobile network operator, Rogers Wireless.
Ericsson is increasingly focused on building its professional services unit, which provides consulting, customer support, network design and integration, and training, as well as managed services such as application hosting and network operations oversight. One of Ericsson's key outsourcing services contracts is with Sprint Nextel, one of the top US wireless carriers. Since 2009 the company has been managing the carrier's network operations and the upkeep of its infrastructure as part of a seven year, potentially $5 billion deal. The contract, the biggest of its kind when it was announced, gave Ericsson's services division a significant boost in a market where it is trying to build its services business.
In 2012 the company acquired BelAir Networks, a Canada-based provider of carrier-grade Wi-Fi equipment. The deal expanded Ericsson's customer base and its Wi-Fi technology holdings. Previous efforts to build its North American unit, and its software product line, saw Ericsson buy the assets of SinglePoint in 2010. The acquisition strengthened its multimedia business with the addition of applications (SingleBrand and SingleVision) and services that automate the management of interactive television marketing campaigns and other corporate advertising functions.
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