Ericsson Builds on Long History

Courtesy of EricssonThe 60,000-line telephone exchange that Ericsson constructed in Moscow in 1904 was the largest in Europe at the time.

As the world's leading provider of technologies and services to telecommunications operators, Ericsson is planning to supply next-generation solutions to the growing Russian market, where it has an extensive history.

Russia is one of the Ericsson's top five markets, and the company expects mobile data traffic to grow here, spokeswoman Anastasia Timoshina said by e-mail. Currently, Ericsson technology supports every third mobile call in Russia, the firm says on its website.

"Today there are over 50 million broadband subscribers in Russia. We envision that by 2015 global mobile data traffic will grow by 15 times," Timoshina said. "As for Russia, it will grow by 25 times."

Ericsson views Russia as a "very perspective and dynamic market," Timoshina added.

"The primary drivers in the mid to long term are most certainly in mobile broadband, M2M [machine-to-machine] and vertical applications, cloud computing, IT outsourcing and managed services," she said.

Ericsson's Russian story spans 130 years. The company started delivering telephone equipment to Russia in November 1881 and set up production in St. Petersburg in 1897. In 1904, Ericsson built Europe's then-largest telephone exchange, with a 60,000-line capacity, on Moscow's Milyutinsky Pereulok.

During Soviet times, however, the telephone exchange and St. Petersburg factory were taken over by the state, with the factory renamed Krasnaya Zarya, or "Red Dawn." Nonetheless, the firm continued to work here. In the 1930s, it constructed a telephone network in Moscow that operated well into the 1990s. It also provided the world's biggest telex station for the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.

Ericsson's activity in Russia has only increased since the Soviet breakup. Most recently, Ericsson has agreed to set up a research and development center at Skolkovo, Russia's version of Silicon Valley.

Maria Radtke, country manager of Ericsson Russia, spoke briefly with The Moscow Times.

Is doing business in Russia more difficult (or easier) than in other nations?

MR: The Russian business culture does not differ significantly from the international. Acting on a certain market does always require knowledge about local business climate, behavior, regulations and processes. Russia is a vast territory, not a homogenous market, and one has to consider regional differences and relate business to local needs. Ericsson has a great history in Russia. We do business in 180 countries, so there is a solid knowledge platform of how to do business in a diverse environment. Russia today has a growing amount of well-educated young IT and telecom professionals whom international companies are interested in recruiting. They are used to an international environment but, at the same time, equally up to date on national business culture.

What do you personally like about Russia?

MR: For Ericsson, being active in the ICT [information and communications technology] arena in Russia is one of the most exiting markets to be in. Russia is coherently building a modernization agenda in general, and there is a significant demand for mobile broadband to bridge the digital divide. Russia is not simply big — it's huge — and here sharing the benefits of being connected is truly rewarding. Doing business in Russia is not just about the quality and benefits of a solution or a product; it is very much about people. This is crucial for success in business.   

Russia - Sweden 2012
Russia - Sweden 2012
Russia and Sweden share many ties in both business and culture. The Moscow Times' 2012 Russia-Sweden publication explores some of these connections with articles about Gothenburg-based art-house film pioneer Sam Klebanov and the telecommunications companies TeliaSonera, Tele2 and Ericsson. The issue also includes interviews with the dean of the Stockholm School of Economics Russia and the Swedish bands pg.lost and Moonlit Sailor, who recently toured the country.
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