Huawei no.1 in 1Q NI sales, but tough time ahead for the telecom industry

Telecom tower testingHuawei was ranked as the top vendor for the annual network infrastructure (NI) sales to telcos for the four quarters ended 1Q19, according to the latest report from MTN Consulting.

Market share of Huawei was 23.2 percent, more than its two closest rivals combined: Nokia and Ericsson finished 1Q19 with 11.8 percent and 9.7 percent of telco NI, respectively, the report said.

Annual NI sales to telcos for the four quarters ended 1Q19 totaled $194.8B, slightly down from $195.0B in the previous quarter, according to MTN Consulting.

In 1Q19, total NI revenues across vendor segments declined 0.5 percent YoY, pulled down by decline in fiber sales (impacting the CCV segment) and continued weakness in mobile infrastructure – 5G revenues are taking a while to grow, the report finds.

Comparing 1Q19 with 1Q18, the biggest share improvements were recorded by Samsung, Hengtong, Fiberhome, and Accenture, while the biggest declines came from ZTE, ARRIS, Cisco, and Juniper.

Nokia, Ericsson, and ZTE pointed to a large number of 5G contracts which are likely to help 2H19 revenues. Cisco, whose telco revenues dropped 13 percent YoY in 1Q19, said orders will continue to be lumpy “until we get into a real network build out relative to 5G”.

NEC and Prysmian both point to submarine as a weakness in 2019; with Huawei likely selling Huawei Marine that could further slow the market. ARRIS and CommScope have a merger to integrate and supply chain adjustments to cope with due to the China tariffs.

IT services provider Amdocs expects 2-4 percent revenue growth this year, while ITSPs Accenture and Tech Mahindra both point to slightly faster growth in the telco vertical, MTN Consulting said.

Ciena reported good results, with sales to telcos in 1Q19 up by about 20 percent YoY.

Huawei’s 1Q19 revenues were up 8 percent on a USD basis, according to its public statements. From this 8 percent base, Huawei’s outlook for 2019 back in April was fairly strong and defiant, but executives now seem to be guiding down expectations considering the current crisis for the company, said the report.

The report expects the telco NI spending climate in 2019 to remain challenged. There is upside from increased 5G spending, but recession warnings are growing. Recessions tend to his telco revenues hard.

A slowdown in telco revenues would result in both additional layoffs and a slower growth rate in 5G spending. Huawei’s latest troubles will also slow down the procurement process for many telcos as they reevaluate priorities and assess risks, the report said.