Telecom equipment maker Ericsson has been named a Leader in the 2023 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report by Gartner.
This is the third year in a row that Ericsson has received this recognition. Huawei and Nokia are also leaders, according to the Gartner report. ZTE, Samsung, NEC, Fujitsu and Mavenir are visionaries. Rakuten Symphony, and MTI are niche players, Gartner said.
Published in February 2023, Ericsson is recognized in the Leaders’ quadrant and positioned highest for Ability to Execute.
Vendors offering 5G solutions for communications service providers (CSPs) were comprehensively and independently assessed and evaluated by Gartner experts on their Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute, to provide a market snapshot on 5G infrastructure abilities.
Around 50 percent of 5G traffic outside of China runs on Ericsson networks. R&D investments over the past four years have led to Ericsson increasing its market share outside of China to 39 percent in 2022, from around 33 percent in 2017.
There are currently 235 live 5G networks in commercial service, and Ericsson is powering 143 live 5G networks. Ericsson has been driving the cloud-native and dual-mode technology introduction for core networks.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, said: “Being recognized once more as a Leader by Gartner feels truly rewarding. We believe it shows that investing in technology for performance and cost leadership continues to pay off and make an impact.”
Ericsson has been recognized in Gartner 5G Magic Quadrant 2022, and Frost Radar Global 5G Infrastructure 2021. Ericsson also ranked highest among telecom vendors in the latest ABI Research sustainability assessment.
Vendor Strengths and Cautions
Ericsson’s leading role in the evolution of 5G technology, which included such innovations as Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, Uplink Booster and in-house Ericsson Silicon, gave the company a first-mover advantage and has enhanced its mind share as a technological thought leader.
In December 2022 Ericsson announced that it had been working with CSPs to establish 140 commercial live 5G networks. Ericsson has concluded more 5G deals with CSPs than any of its competitors. This can be attributed to its diverse product portfolio, strong service and delivery teams and broad market presence. Ericsson’s 5G radio network carries around 50 percecnt of global 5G traffic outside China.
Ericsson’s R&D investments in 5G, 6G and adjacent technologies, contributions to standardization bodies (for example, 3GPP and O-RAN ALLIANCE) and its industry representative Ericsson Mobility Report have helped it to maintain its thought leadership.
Unlike other leaders profiled in this research, Ericsson’s 5G end-to-end portfolio is complemented by its vendor partners related to internet protocol (IP) and optical transport. Ericsson’s RU product portfolio is more limited than some of its competitors’. For example, Ericsson currently has limited massive multiple input/multiple output (MIMO) product variations, such as FDD massive MIMO, active-passive antenna and IBW 400MHz support, and multiband 8T8R RUs.
In some cases, Ericsson has been said to lack flexibility and a customer-oriented culture. For example, some CSPs have noted that they have to align with Ericsson features, roadmap and delivery priorities, rather than the other way around.
Though Ericsson launched its Cloud RAN (vRAN) portfolio in 2020 and enhanced it in 2021, its priorities are incumbent 4G/5G CSP clients and the interoperability assurance with its own purpose-built BBU by Ericsson Cloud Link. Ericsson’s approach to Open RAN Fronthaul multivendor integration is conservative, and is based on Ericsson’s perception of the market and technology both being at a low level of readiness.