Samsung overtook ZTE in the global radio access network (RAN) market for mobile infrastructure, Dell'Oro Group reported Monday. The South Korean technology giant appears to have capitalized on ZTE's issues with the United States government that ran for some three months, having only been settled this July after the Chinese firm agreed to a wide variety of concessions and fines that would allow it to once again resume normal operations after breaking stateside trade sanctions imposed on North Korea and Iran, then breaking a 2017 settlement with the Commerce Department that was meant to conclude that episode.
Dell'Oro Group's latest quarterly report on the state of the RAN market also suggests the North American branch of the industry is now growing faster than at any point in the last five years, most likely due to the influx of resources committed to the research, development, and testing of the fifth generation of mobile networks and related applications. With the work on 5G New Radio standardization coming to an end, wireless carriers and telecom equipment makers are likely to pursue unprecedented infrastructure deployment efforts in the near future. While 5G is promising to deliver a massive performance upgrade over 4G LTE across the board, its general reliance on millimeter-wave bands requires much denser networks and a more aggressive use of small cell stations, which is the primary growth driver of the North American RAN market outlined in Dell'Oro's latest findings. AT&T's FirstNet ambitions and continued 4G LTE densification also contributed to the market's latest expansion, the analytics firm wrote. Samsung itself so far invested billions of dollars into 5G R&D and recently set aside another $22 billion meant to finance such efforts over the next three years.
Above Samsung and ZTE, no major changes were observed, with Huawei still being the world's largest manufacturer of mobile network equipment, followed by Ericsson and Nokia. Samsung's improvement marks the company's best ranking ever and underlines its aggressive pursuit of the title of a 5G pioneer. Dell'Oro's full quarterly RAN report can be purchased via the banner below.