Ericsson sold its first telephone station to Brazil in 1900. The company did not become established in Brazil until the 1920s, however. At that time, Companhia Telefónica Brasileira (CTB) dominated the country's telephone market. The company was the operator in the largest cities, such as São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, and purchased all equipment from one of Ericsson's competitors. Ericsson was able to do business with other companies operating outside CTB's concession areas and therefore established a sales company, Sociedade Ericsson do Brasil (EDB), in Rio de Janeiro in 1923. By the end of the 1920s, Ericsson had also sold its first 500-switch station to the small town of Juiz de Fora.

In 1934, Wolf Kantif, an Englishman living in Brazil, was employed by Ericsson's local company. Kantif was a very talented salesman who traveled extensively in the northeastern parts of the country that were outside of CTB's concession area. With his charming manner, he was able to convince people in various locations to start telephone associations. These associations then ordered equipment from Ericsson in Sweden. By 1940, Ericsson had a firm foothold in Brazil.

In the mid-1940s, Ericsson also began to receive orders from CTB, and the Swedish company's sales figures increased even more.

In 1952, however, the Brazilian government reacted and demanded that the increasing imports of telecom equipment from Sweden should be reduced. Instead, the government felt that Ericsson should start a plant in Brazil.

Ericsson followed the government's recommendations and built a telephone production plant outside São Paolo. Soon Ericsson also began to manufacture crossbar switches in its Brazilian plant. Operations expanded rapidly. In 1960, for example, EDB supplied all telecom equipment in Brazil's new capital Brasilia.

In the mid-1960s, EDB received a large order for crossbar switches for São Paolo and other locations, and by the end of the decade, Ericsson had attained a market share of about 50 percent. In 1974, it was necessary to build a new production plant in San José dos Campos.

During the late 1970s, however, the Brazilian economy was suffering from a deep recession and orders for telecom equipment fell. The country was even forced to cancel previously placed orders. In 1979, however, Ericsson received its first AXE order for a telephone station in São Paolo.

The first order for a mobile system was received in 1992. From 1997 to 1998, ten mobile telephone licenses were put up for auction, making this the world's largest auction up until that time. To meet increased demand Ericsson's contracts included supplying equipment for cellular operator Tess D-AMPS system in Sao Paolo Ericsson began manufacturing both base stations and mobile phones at the plant in San José dos Campos.

By the beginning of 2000, Ericsson had 2,400 employees in Brazil. The company had a market share of 35 percent for fixed telephony, 40 percent for mobile systems and 34 percent for terminals (mobile telephones and handheld computers). Brazil was Ericsson's largest market by far in Latin America and one of the largest in the entire world.

Author: Mats Wickman

Contribute to this story

  • Ericsson Pabx

    by João Ruth

    Gostaria de saber onde encontrar um catálogo de pabx fabricados no Brasil. Obrigad.

  • Mr. Bublitz

    by João Carlos Ferreira


    Please see below the answer to Mr. Jose Carlos Bublitz question.

    Mr. Casa Grande, Mr. Noronha, and Fernando da Silva all died a few years ago. Also Cenegaglio, Luiz Antonio and Fernando Teixeira died.

    I used to work with Noronha from 1971 to 1980 and continued my carreer. I replaced David Cymrot.

    Since 1989 i have my own company (Eritel Telecom.Ltda), a distributor of Ascom Wirelss Solutions (Gothenburg) for Brazil and South America.

    All the best!

    Please let me know if you need more info about Ericsson do Brazil.


  • Answer to José Carlos Bublitz

    by Krister Hillerud

    Dear Mr Bublitz,

    Of course we are interested if you have documents to share. Please contact us at the Centre for Business History, Stockholm. You can find our e-mail adress in the footer of this website.

  • Ericsson New HQ marginal Tiete,Sp/BR

    by Mr Jose Carlos BUBLITZ

    my name Jose Carlos BUBLITZ emploiyed from 1968-1972 Ericsson do Brasil ...av. Paulista /Sao Paulo in Project depart. Div. In 1970 all Ericsson facilities transfered to the new Ericsson Head Quarters Marginal Tiete/SP ,iam looking for, Mr CASAGRANDE,Mr Dr. NORONHA and others of the same Project Division. Also to contact the employees, photpgrafs even the secury guards name ,one of those where te son of the hosekeepers family in IPORANGA/GUARUJA ownned by ACOS VILLARES,where I was specially invited to "camp in 1968 when it was alla pure jungle.....I like to thanks all Erisson dinamic peaple .I have some vintage documents from this period to be shared when contacted Thanks !
    now I am 66 years old/43 years leaving in Europe ,England and now in Genève/SUISSE

  • Picture 7/14

    by Franco Felici

    Great article. Thanks

    Can anyone name the 3 gentlemen of picture 7/14 accompaning Björn Lundvall ?

    P.S.: São Paolo should be changed to São Paulo