Samsung has been growing in prominence as a major player in 5G over the past few months. At the start of last month, the South Korean vendor won a landmark $6.6 billion contract with Verizon, beating out the likes of even larger rivals Ericsson and Nokia. Victory on such a major scale could be indicative of a changing of the guard at the top of the vendor tree, with Huawei mired in controversy and suffering from numerous US sanctions…
Samsung has been growing in prominence as a major player in 5G over the past few months. At the start of last month, the South Korean vendor won a landmark $6.6 billion contract with Verizon, beating out the likes of even larger rivals Ericsson and Nokia. Victory on such a major scale could be indicative of a changing of the guard at the top of the vendor tree, with Huawei mired in controversy and suffering from numerous US sanctions.
Indeed, 5G seems to be a huge opportunity for Samsung to muscle in on the established vendor hierarchy. Despite rapid growth, Samsung’s 4G market share only equates to around 3% of the global market. But if we look at 5G we see a story on a much grander scale, with similar market share growth in the region of 10-15% of the global market.
Part of this growth can, of course, be attributed to the US pressure on Huawei, which has served to open the door for Samsung to enter a number of markets, including the US, Japan, New Zealand, and Canada.
But it seems that the company is also making ground in its domestic market of South Korea, one of the most technologically advanced mobile markets in the world. Today, it has been announced that all three of South Korea’s major mobile operators – LG Uplus, SK Telecom and KT – have all placed orders for 28GHz 5G base stations from Samsung.
These mmWave sites will help deliver some of the more flashy promises of 5G, including autonomous vehicles and augmented and virtual reality. These will, of course, begin as pilot projects, but nonetheless leave South Korea as one of the best-positioned countries to make these exciting new technologies a reality.
But while Samsung is seemingly gaining ground both at home and abroad, Huawei are by no means out of contention. Many markets are still undecided on their future relationship with the Chinese vendor despite US pressure, and some have already indicated that Huawei’s relatively cheap and well-established equipment makes too attractive a proposition to pass up; this is especially true of Africa, where Huawei has a strong grip on almost every nation on the continent.
Ultimately, we are still in a very early stage of global 5G deployment and it is hard to tell what the future will look like, especially in the shadow of a spiking coronavirus pandemic and a US election on the horizon for next month. The vendor hierarchy is certainly experiencing a shake up, but exactly how the playing field will look when the dust settles is hard to predict.
Nonetheless, the uncertainty of 5G has not stopped Samsung looking even further into the future of mobile technology, releasing a white paper on 6G back in July that estimated the new tech's commercial deployment as early as 2028.
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