Ericsson signed $370 million worth of credit agreements to beef up its 5G research efforts, as it looks to forge ahead with efforts to focus the business on future growth opportunities.
The loss-making infrastructure firm raised $150 million from Svensk Exportkredit and $220 million from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB). In addition to being used to boost R&D, the new funds will strengthen the balance sheet and provide “financial flexibility”, Ericsson said.
Erik Ekudden (pictured), CTO, said Ericsson is investing in 5G, IoT and digital services as part of its strategy to “secure technology leadership”.
Ekudden said the company was already working with 38 operators on developing and preparing for 5G networks. “This is more than any other company,” Ekudden added.
These include its deal announced with Verizon earlier in December and a number of tests with Vodafone Group unveiled over the last month.
“In the coming years, we will see 5G networks going live around the world, with major deployments from 2020, and we believe that there will be one billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023. The technologies that we are investing in are fundamentally changing the way we innovate, collaborate, produce, live and do business.”
The news comes two months after CEO Borje Ekholm conceded the company had lost its technology leadership position and reaffirmed its commitment to new technologies.
During the costly restructure taking place at Ericsson, the company continued to invest heavily in R&D – especially related to new technologies – in a bid to turn its fortunes around. In 2016, the company said it invested $3.8 billion in R&D.
Confirmation of its latest loan comes days after the landmark release of the first 5G New Radio specification for non-standalone operation – a significant step towards global rollout of the next generation technology.