Management and staff at Ericsson Athlone were treated to a royal visit this morning when King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden visited the company's Athlone campus.
The Swedish royals were welcomed by senior vice president of Ericsson, Jan Karlsson, and Deputy Sean Canney, Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources, as well as a host of key industry figures and local representatives.
The visit gave Ericsson the opportunity to showcase its 5G technology at the Athlone campus, one of the key global centres for Ericsson’s Operation Support System (OSS) which plays an important component of 5G.
Ericsson recently launched the world’s first 5G networks in Europe, Korea and the US, and is currently the leading vendor of live 5G networks.
The event was hailed as "hugely significant" in highlighting both the contributions of the company on a global scale, and the strategic importance of Athlone and the Midlands region.
Deputy Sean Canney spoke of the “shared perspective” between Ireland and Sweden in relation to a digital future.
“Today we stand on the precipice of a true new digital age in Europe. There is no better venue than the Ericsson Athlone campus to share our thinking on a digital future. The presence of our Swedish friends reminds us of the opportunities we have to engage, to foster innovation, to contribute to the economy and to contribute to potentially thousands of new jobs.”
Chief executive of Westmeath County Council, Pat Gallagher, described the royal visit to Ericsson Athlone as “hugely significant”.
“It is great to see Ericsson have the confidence to invest in research and development here, and to invest in the long-term in Athlone.”
For more on the royal visit, see next week's Westmeath Independent.