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In an exclusive interview, Ekow Nelson, Vice President of Ericsson MEA, Head of Global Customer unit e& , and Ericsson UAE Country General Manager, talks about his company’s long history of providing seamless connectivity to the world and outlines strategies to navigate an increasingly digital world.

With rapid digitalization taking place across the UAE, please tell us about some of Ericsson's key projects in the public and private sectors.

Our major projects in the UAE are working with the two operators, e& and du, to provide the rollout of 5G networks for limitless connectivity. Communications infrastructure is fundamental to innovation and the digitalization, imperative. We're working with both operators to develop the best 5G network in the world. As you may know, in the recent Ookla test, the UAE has been declared the country with the fastest mobile network in the world. We are working with both operators to provide that platform for innovation. This will enable other industries and consumers to build applications that will deliver not only new experiences, but also introduce efficiencies in a way in which enterprises, government agencies and other companies are working to deliver services to their customers.

There is a strong push for energy-efficient operations across industries globally. How is Ericsson supporting its customers in their pursuit of sustainable future strategies?

Well, there are two ways in which we support the sustainability agenda. The first one is that, as an industry, we are responsible for about 1.4% of the carbon emissions in the world. We have found out through our research that our technologies contribute about 15% of carbon dioxide emission reduction through the application of our connectivity and infrastructure solution in other industries. As for the 1.4% carbon dioxide emission that we are responsible for as an industry, we are redesigning our products to be more energy efficient and consume less energy.

Last year, we worked with our partner e& to deploy new Ericsson radio equipment that saved between 47 and 51% of all energy consumption, helping them to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. As I said, the most important thing is to find a way to use these technologies that we are developing to help other industries by providing availability of continuous and seamless connectivity to our consumer segments. They are then able to use this capability to manage their supply chains, reduce the amount of travel and various other things to reduce their carbon emissions, without necessarily impacting their product’s lifecycle.

Could you elaborate on Ericsson's Gen-E and Graduate Program in the Middle East and Africa region? What are Ericsson's implementation strategies for this program?

We have been providing our Gen-E Graduate Program in many countries around the world. In the UAE, we presented our program for young graduates from universities across the UAE whereby we take them in for at least 2 to 3 years through various training programs that provide real-world projects to help them address the challenges that our customers are facing. The program is a combination of hands-on experience along with online training.  They have access to all the Ericsson capabilities to help them become more rounded, with skills in a broad range of experiences, including finance, cloud, IoT, 5G, sales, customer care, and so on. We conducted this program in Saudi Arabia and Africa, equipping them with all the basic technology skills that they need to become productive employees, either for us or for other companies that they work for once they have completed their training with us. We are very proud of this training program and we see it as our contribution to help build the future leaders of our company as well as others for a largely technology-driven world.

Please tell us about Ericsson's plans for accelerating digital economies of the future in light of the rapid advancement in emerging technologies.

5G has been around for quite some time now and we are already talking about 6G technology that has the capabilities to bridge the physical and the cyber continuum seamlessly. For 150 years, Ericsson has been connecting the world and its people. Now, we are connecting things in the virtual world and the physical world to create a seamless platform for innovation to build new and unforeseen applications that will digitalize the world further than what it has been up until today. Fundamentally, we are a communications company, and we believe in providing communications as a human right to everyone and everything in the world. An open platform for innovation will enable a lot more applications and services to be developed as we move forward.

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