The major growth in Internet access over the next few years will come from the mobile environment rather than from traditional fixed-line access.
This will be especially true in Africa, where the number of mobile connections already exceeeds the number of fixed telephone lines by an order of magnitude.
The figures bear it out: according to Ericsson CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg, there are already 2,66-billion mobile subscribers in the world today, with about 1-billion handsets per year being sold.
And the numbers are rising: within the next couple of years, Svanberg believes there will be another 1-billion mobile users worldwide.
In the developed world, users are starting to demand tiple-play services, he adds, but in most parts of Africa the need is still for voice.
Emerging markets are a major focus for Ericsson, says Svanberg, adding that the Middle East & Africa region saw 23% growth last year, with Africa's growth at a higher level.
Svanberg points out that voice is an entry-point into the networked world and, in most markets, user quickly move on to other, more sophisticated services.
"The mobile phone also allows users to access more advanced services and the voice users will start to build out.
"If you give it a few years, 3G handsets will be as affordable as 2G handsets and that will make a huge difference to a lot of people. With the mobile Internet, people will be able to be connected wih what is happening in the world, and it will start to change lives."
The penetration of mobile phones into Africa has been fast, and is set to grow even further. Already there are 118-million mobile subscribers in the region, a number that is expected to double in the next four years.
At the same time, the penetration of fixed lines is declining against population growth, down to just 1,2% in 2006.
"Broadband is going to be wireless in Africa," says Svanberg.
The region is difficult to forecast, he adds, since every projection has so far fallen short of reality.
"The mobile phone will go far in Africa," he says. "But it's almost impossible to guess how far. Companies have always underestimated penetration levels; and they've underestimated the innovation and opportunities that people make of the technology."
In terms of infrastructure, Ericsson has developed a number of technologies for the African market, including being able to cover a large area, with sparse population.
An the handset front, as a 50% owner of Sony Ericsson, the company has traditionally focused on the high end of the market. However, plans are afoot to also address the entry-level segment of the market.