Skip to Content

Here’s What Ericsson’s Ousted CEO Said About 5G Connectivity in 2014

The board of directors of Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications giant, pushed out CEO Hans Vestberg on Monday.

He had led the company for six and a half years.

The move followed a dismal fiscal quarter and year in which the company laid off thousands of workers in an attempt to cut costs as its sales stagnated. Its challenge, as Fortune noted earlier this morning, is that most telecom operators have completed their rollout of 4G/LTE wireless broadband equipment. The technology set to replace it, so-called 5G, isn’t yet ready for primetime—meaning there’s little left for Ericsson to sell.

“In the current environment and as the company accelerates its strategy execution, the board of directors has decided that the time is right for a new leader to drive the next phase in Ericsson’s development,” the company wrote in a statement published this morning.

In 2014, Vestberg kicked off Fortune’s annual Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen by explaining his view on the 5G wireless standard.

“If you look from 2G to 3G, it was a big step change in many senses. But there was one thing that was similar. We increased the speed and increased the robustness of the technology. When we went to 4G we basically did the same—the speed and the coverage and the quality increased,” Vestberg said to Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram. “If you now think in the future, 10 to 15 years out, there are going to be a lot of consumers using the networks. A lot of industries that are going to be transformed by using mobility and the cloud…and society will also be transformed. Think about health care using this, think about education using this, think about fighting CO2 emissions using this…we’re going to get different use cases and you need sliced networks that actually know different types of users.”

Watch the full 30-minute session here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c18VAOIWq4?rel=0&w=450&h=253]