After serving for six years as the CEO of network infrastructure giant Ericsson, in April Hans Vestberg joined Verizon as CTO EVP and President of Global Networks. In the company’s recurring podcast Up to Speed, Vestberg discusses his transition from the vendor side to the operator side, and looked ahead at opportunities for telecommunications in the next five years.
“Always changing a company is exciting. You’re motivated and energized,” he said. “I’ve been going around the world during probably 15 years talking to operators and telling them what to do and how to use technology, and now I’m sitting on the other side and I actually need to implement it. It seemed a little bit easier maybe to give consultatory advice than basically do it yourself. On the other hand, I have to say it has been a great experience to come into Verizon.”
He commented on the broad trend of operators becoming more broad technology companies: ” think that what we see is an inflection point for the whole industry. I think that connectivity is of course an enormously important piece of anything you want to do. But we also see that carriers all around the world are taking very different routes.” Some focus on just connectivity, other add platforms to their connectivity and others bring end user applications into the mix.
“Verizon has taken their decision and we have decided we’re not only in connectivity, we’re doing platforms and in certain areas” and addressing opportunities around things like media and telematics. “You’re going to see these iterations of carriers all around the world where they want to play in the next generation where the inflection point is coming and you’re competing different. Connectivity is needed for anything. anything that benefits from being connected in the future will be connected and that creates opportunity. Where do we find our competitive advantages?”
Looking into the future, Vestberg noted that it took around two decades to connect approximately 3 billion people to the internet. Now, “We see sort of the fifth technology revolution happening right now and we’re going to see impact across the globe. I think that what we don’t realize that we sit here today and we think that technology has been developing extremely fast and we have seen the last 15, 20 years a lot of people being connected to internet. What we don’t realize is it will take us only five years more and we’ll have 3 billion more. The pace of change of technology is so fast and there will be no difference between if you actually have a 4G network in lets say Lagos in Nigeria or in New York City. it will have the same capabilities. That will give people on this earth having the same chances to actually get information, access to education, or whatever it can be. I don’t think we really understand how that will impact our globe where actually real time information will be equal for everyone basically in five years from now.”
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