As 5G proliferates, driving down costs, major 5G radio access networks (RAN) equipment vendors will be in a close battle for dominant market share in 2023, according to a new forecast from Strategy Analytics.
Despite being barred from the U.S. market, Huawei will have a slight two-point lead over rivals Ericsson and Nokia at the end of the forecast period in terms of the share of global 5G subscribers served on the vendor’s 5G RAN equipment, Strategy Analytics predicts.
The firm says Huawei stands to benefit from continued R&D investment and the massive scale of China’s early 5G market.
“R&D investment backed by market scale is the most crucial factor for the long term competitiveness of 5G infrastructure vendors,” said Guang Yang, director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Huawei has maintained steady growth in its 5G R&D investment, which bodes well for long term advances in energy efficient, cost effective 5G technology.”
In 2023 the firm expects that for RAN vendors Huawei will wield 24.8 percent 5G subscriber share, followed closely by Ericsson at 22.9 percent and Nokia with 22.7 percent. The remaining 29.6 percent will be held by others including new openRAN vendors and Samsung and ZTE, which are expected to expand their global presence during the forecast period.
According to Strategy Analytics, by 2023 5G technology will achieve economies of scale and 5G radio access will be highly competitive with costs per gigabyte of throughput continuing to fall, making the next-generation technology affordable for consumers and enterprises globally.
“The neck and neck battle between Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia for share of 2023’s 5G radio access should lower costs for all segments of mobile, IoT and fixed 5G applications, even as smaller new vendors find specific niches below these three,” said Phil Kendall, executive director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement.
While the U.S. government has been urging its European and Asia-Pacific allies to ban Huawei infrastructure equipment in 5G networks because of security concerns, German regulators on Tuesday confirmed the country would not exclude any equipment supplier — including Huawei—from 5G contracts, the Financial Times reported.
Huawei acting chairman Ken Hu speaking at an analyst summit Tuesday said that the Chinese vendor expects double digit growth for its carrier business, bolstered by 5G networks, according to Light Reading.
Ericsson and Nokia, meanwhile, have been scooping up 5G contracts around the world including major U.S. operators. As of March, Ericsson had publically announced 18 5G contracts.
Strategy Analytics’ report found that both Chinese and non-Chinese vendors that can effectively compete in the huge Chinese market will further improve their market position.
Currently, China has a significant infrastructure advantage when it comes to 5G. According to U.S. trade group CTIA, China has more than 14 cell sites per 10,000 people, compared to 4.7 in the U.S., as well as more than five wireless cell sites per every 10 square miles, compared to 0.4 in the U.S.