Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm (pictured) used a shareholder meeting to hammer home previous warnings about the need to speed 5G deployments in Europe or risk lagging the US and China.

Ekholm explained Europe was coming from behind on 5G because of a legacy lag from 4G, and explained political action is needed to speed deployments of the next-generation tech.

Europe has “very few digital champions” compared with the US and China, he explained adding 5G was an opportunity not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The CEO delved further into warnings of a threat to jobs, explaining services “will be created where the networks are first”.

Ekholm’s focus on 5G has been a key theme so far in 2021, with the executive already warning of a lack of incentive for operators to deploy the technology and a knock-on effect for the region’s industry and economy.

The CEO noted Ericsson would continue to seek the “great growth opportunities in the enterprise segment”, and explained an acquisition of US edge equipment company Cradlepoint in 2020 was a “win-win for our customers since its solutions create new revenue streams for mobile network operators”.