Telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson will lay off 8 500 employees globally as part of its plan to cut costs, a memo sent to employees said.

While technology companies such as Microsoft, Meta Platforms and Google have laid off thousands of employees citing economic conditions, Ericsson’s move would be the largest layoff to hit the telecoms industry.

“The way headcount reductions will be managed will differ depending on local country practice,” CEO Börje Ekholm wrote in the memo.

“In several countries the headcount reductions have already been communicated this week,” he said.

On Monday, the company, which employs more than 105 000 worldwide, announced plans to cut about 1 400 jobs in Sweden.

While Ericsson did not disclose which country would be most affected, analysts had predicted that North America would likely be most affected and growing markets such as India the least.

The company said in December it would cut costs by US$880-million by the end of 2023 as demand slows in some markets, including North America.

“It is our obligation to take this cost out to remain competitive,” Ekholm said in the memo. “Our biggest enemy right now may be complacency.”

Many telecoms companies had beefed up their inventories during the height of the pandemic which is now leading to slowing orders for telecom equipment makers.

Verizon, one of the largest telecoms companies, plans to spend between $18.25-billion and $19.25-billion this year, down from a capital expenditure budget of $23-billion last year.

Nordic rival Nokia has not announced any plans to lay off employees.  — Reuters