As Huawei sets in the West, Samsung rises with Open RAN

Features

Richard Webb Director, Network Infrastructure, CSS Insight, comments on Vodafone chosing Samsung for its commercial Open Ran.

This partnership represents a major market breakthrough for Samsung and a strong validation of its 5G RAN portfolio.

CCS Insight has been tracking Samsung’s progress in the 5G network equipment market for some time and the Vodafone deal is the culmination of good momentum Samsung has been building.

Rising credibility

The contract win shows that Samsung is becoming a credible 5G RAN equipment provider. Although Ericsson and Nokia have established market leadership in Europe, there is room for alternatives and now that Huawei position has been undermined by trade restrictions, it leaves the door open to Samsung to stake a claim for a growing share of the market.

It still has a long way to go to catch Ericsson and Nokia though, but Samsung has a well-rounded 5G RAN portfolio across mobile broadband, fixed wireless access and private 5G networks so it should be seen as a genuine contender.

OpenRAN is helpful for Samsung, no doubt, as it potentially is to any competitor seeking to disrupt the dominance of the so-called Big Three [Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia] in the 5G RAN market: vendor diversity is one of the principal tenets of the open RAN concept, robustly supported by Vodafone and other major European operators.

That said, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see a notable win for Samsung in the European market – it is a well-established network solutions provider that is capable of delivering at scale.

It already counts tier-1 operators such as NTT DoCoMo, KDDi and Verizon as customers as well as SK Telecom in its home market in South Korea.

This contract win adds to its credibility and could be a signal for other European operators to consider Samsung as an option.