Swedish networking giant Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) is moving its Ottawa research and development centre from the former Nortel campus to the Kanata Research Park.
Hans Vestberg is the CEO of Ericsson.
By Jacob Serebrin
Hans Vestberg, Ericsson’s president and CEO, said the new 22,761 square metre facility is “one of the biggest R&D centres in the world.”
The centre currently employs 950 people, a number that is not expected to change.
Mr. Vestberg said it’s developing some of the “latest technology” when it comes to Wi-Fi integration for cellular phones, next generation mobile networks and other network infrastructure products. The company’s local operations produce a large number of patents, he said
“The team here in Ottawa has done a great job,” said Mr. Vestberg.
Ottawa is a “hub of competence” when it comes to mobile networking, he said, which he hopes will give the company “long-term stability.”
Much of Ericsson’s local research and development base came through its acquisition of Nortel’s mobile business in 2009 and BelAir Networks, a developer of Wi-Fi networks for mobile carriers, in 2012, said Mr. Vestberg. Both of those companies were based in Ottawa.
Mark Henderson, president of Ericsson Canada, said the company benefits from the strong telecom “eco-system in Ottawa.”
He said Ericsson also has “strong collaborations with universities,” across Canada, including Carleton University.
The new facility in Ottawa is part of a “big investment in Canada,” according to Mr. Vestberg.
Ericsson is also planning to open a large information communication technology centre in Montreal. The company currently employs 3,100 people across the country, a number that has grown significantly over the past few years.
“The Canadian market is very important,” said Mr. Vestberg, adding that many of the company’s products are first launched here.
Nevertheless, he said, the local staff is developing products for a global market and working as part of international development teams.
He said that rather than having executives at each development centre, the company strives for “seamless integration” between staff at different sites and in different countries.
Ericsson is planning to invest $5 billion in research and development around the world over the next several years in order to remain a “technology leader in the industry,” said Mr. Vestberg.
Ericsson, which sold its share of the Sony-Ericsson cell phone manufacturing business to Sony in February 2012, focuses on mobile infrastructure, wireless broadband and Internet video provision, as well as billing systems and other services for phone companies.
In July, Ericsson reported operating income of over CAD$401 million during the second quarter of 2013.
While revenue from sales was flat compared with the year before, the company blamed that on the strengthening Swedish Kroner.