Ericsson in the Valley

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Today, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is holding what it's calling an executive summit on broadband mobility -- an analyst day, of sorts -- but the event is also a coming-out of the company's Silicon Valley franchise.

Ericsson has built up to about 1,200 employees in the Valley, attracting relatively little notice. ("You take away 1,200 employees -- that makes the headlines," executive vice president Bert Nordberg said.) It's combining its forces, including the acquired Entrisphere, into the former Redback Networks Inc. offices along Highway 237 in northern San Jose. (See Ericsson Moves In.)

The location is critical, executives are saying, because Silicon Valley is the source for the applications that drive network usage -- Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, for instance.

The Silicon Valley headquarters will be ground zero for several future technologies, including 100-Gbit/s Ethernet; 10-Gbit/s GPON; core Internet research; and open mobile-broadband applications.

But the theme of the day here is mobile broadband, including the current growth of HSPA and the eventual buildout of LTE. Ericsson is getting hit with a lot of skeptical questions -- how many wireless acronyms never paid off, or took years to do so? -- but the company is making the case that, especially in its home base of Sweden, landline data connections are being abandoned in favor of wireless.

"Broadband is going to be mobile. That is what we are building our future on," Nordberg says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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