INTERVIEW: Telia president and CEO Patrik Hofbauer (pictured) offered a somewhat unique perspective on the telecoms industry having spent several years away from it, but still highlighted familiar challenges such as making 5G profitable.

Following a sojourn into the world of gambling, the one-time Telenor chief returned to the fold earlier this year as the replacement for Allison Kirkby.

At his first MWC since 2017, Hofbauer told Mobile World Live a key focus for his Telia tenure will be on how the company can improve its “day-to-day execution” to drive improvement in “what we are delivering to our customers”.

He believes execution, rather than strategy alone, is “the winning concept” and highlighted a need for efficiency to “free up funds…so we can continue to afford to invest in growth”.

Hofbauer joined Telia from Sweden’s national gambling company, a role he said is relevant in terms of being as data-driven and customer focused as the telecoms sector, along with providing experience of working with regulators.

But he also offered perspectives on the telecom industry’s progress, in particular the subject of generating revenue from 5G, a discussion he said was happening “when I left this sector at the beginning of 2018” and is still ongoing.

With rollouts of the technology at an advanced stage, Hofbauer noted there are now “some use cases”, but argued the need “to improve them”.

Click here for the full interview, in which Hofbauer also tackles operator APIs and the rise of AI for both consumer and operator uses.