Samsung Could Reap The Benefits Of A World Divided On 5G Equipment

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Samsung could end up the biggest beneficiary of ongoing tensions over 5G equipment between the East and West. That's according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, citing industry analysts.

The potential market upheaval stems from the fact that, as a South Korean company building, Samsung builds all of its 5G equipment at home. So the company isn't necessarily impacted by ongoing international sanctions against China. Or by potential sanctions coming from China.

How does its geographic location a benefit for Samsung in the 5G market?

The location of Samsung's business is important for several reasons. The US and UK have both banned Huawei 5G networking equipment. The EU is expected to follow in short order. Both of those decisions come down to the fact that US sanctions prevent Huawei from working with well-established, long-time partners. Instead, they're being forced to search out novel solutions and lesser-known partners.

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The argument posited by most opponents of the use of Huawei equipment is that those third-parties are untested, unknown, and therefore untrustworthy. Many of those are also based in China.

If the EU does ultimately ban Huawei equipment, China may choose to impose similar bans on Ericsson and Nokia. That would leave Samsung in a position to potentially sell equipment on both sides of the conflict.

Industry analysts point out that Samsung has already made headway, even before the UK decided to ban Huawei. Market research firm Dell'Oro Group notes that Samsung controls roughly a seventh of the overall market. Huawei's market share is twice that. But, as noted above, Huawei's market share could feasibly begin to slip if sanctions remain in place.

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Moreover, analysts note that Samsung is bolstering its 5G equipment offerings and has signed as many as four new deals on 5G equipment over the past eight months. Most notably in Canada and New Zealand.

The company has also been discussing deals with some European carriers. That includes in the UK if the opportunity presents itself, according to Samsung executive vice president Kim Woo-June, who has said as much in a recent discussion with a British parliamentary committee.

That position could improve with next-gen tech too

Currently placed in fourth globally in the industry, Samsung has obvious advantages in the 5G equipment space. And its ambitions on that front could help it to better compete directly with Huawei in regions where the latter company has been banned. But that isn't just for 5G. Samsung's ambitions for 6G have also already been laid out. And those align very well with Huawei's.

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That gives Samsung more potential advantages moving forward. Especially if it can get the pricing right and if tensions and sanctions continue beyond 5G.