Samsung Electronics has signed up Verizon as its first customer in the United States for its 5G products to increase indoor coverage, weeks after winning a $6.64 billion order for telecom equipment from the mobile network operator.
Samsung has gained ground in recent years and is challenging the dominance of Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE in telecom gear.
It has also benefited from China’s Huawei getting barred from bidding for 5G contracts in the United States.
Samsung’s new 5G portfolio will help operators add coverage and capacity indoors, be it homes of users or factories and warehouses, Alok Shah, vice president of Network Strategy at Samsung, told Reuters.
He said the company was in talks with other U.S. telecoms operators. AT&T and T-Mobile are also in the process of expanding their 5G network coverage.
Indoor coverage is crucial for 5G as the millimetre wave radio frequency used by the likes of Verizon faces problems in passing through walls or other obstacles.
Samsung had a 3 percent market share of the total global telecoms equipment market in 2019, behind No. 1 Huawei with 28 percent, Nokia’s 16 percent, Ericsson’s 14 percent, ZTE’s 10 percent and Cisco’s 7 percent, according to market research firm Dell’Oro Group.
Samsung is positioning itself between the traditional suppliers and the ones like Mavenir and Altiostar, which are using software to run network functions on the cloud dubbed Open Radio Access Network (RAN), reducing the use of physical equipment.
Larger suppliers are more protective of their current market share and smaller players who are pushing the envelope on technology don’t have the skill at this time.
Samsung sits right in the middle, Shah said. “We have scale that we can bring to bear, but we’re also a challenger and we’re very hungry and aggressive,” Shah said. “So far that’s really been the secret sauce for us to bring both sides of that coin to customers.”