Categories: Mobile

Samsung’s Verizon Deal Puts It Head-to-Head With Huawei In 5G Race

Samsung, until recently a laggard in the telecom equipment sector, has emerged as a top player in the race to deploy 5G around the world as it challenges front-runner Huawei.

Better known for its chips and smartphones, the South Korean international conglomerate recently placed a shot across Huawei’s bow when it landed a $6.6 billion contract with Verizon to provide 5G radio access network (RAN) gear to the big U.S. telecom player, the Financial Times reports.

Samsung’s move is being aided by the push by the United States and its allies to bar Huawei from their emerging 5G networks, citing security terms related to the company’s ties to the Chinese government.

The new wireless technology is considered the key to innovations that could have a major impact on the global economy in the coming decades, from the Internet of Things (IoT) and driverless cars to ever more sophisticated industrial automation.

“Samsung’s recent win with Verizon could be a game-changer,” Stefan Pongratz, a 5G expert at research company Dell’Oro Group, told the FT.

Samsung, which has been a relatively minor player in the telecom equipment market, is catching up rapidly, and now has a 10-15 percent share of the burgeoning 5G equipment sector, the FT reports.

Samsung is the lead player in South Korea in 5G network equipment. In addition to its Verizon deal, it has also inked agreements in the U.S. with AT&T, Sprint and US Cellular; Spark in New Zealand; Telus and Videotron in Canada; and KDDI in Japan, according to the FT.

The annual global investment in rolling out 5G networks is projected to average $235 billion a year over the next 15 years, according to an HIS Markit survey cited by the paper. The U.S. and China are each expected to spend $1 trillion on rolling out 5G networks during that time period.

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