Reports: Huawei wins 5G contracts with Vodafone-Italy and Malaysia

Reuters reports that Vodafone’s Italian division has secured conditional approval from Rome to use equipment made by China’s Huawei in its 5G radio access network, two sources close to the matter said.

Italy can block or impose tough conditions on deals involving non EU vendors under “golden powers,” which have been used three times since 2012 to block foreign interest in industries deemed to be of strategic importance.

The government of national unity led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi authorized the deal between Vodafone and Huawei on May 20, one of the two sources told Reuters, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

As in similar deals, the government imposed a set of prescriptions including restrictions on remote intervention by Huawei to fix technical glitches and an extremely high security threshold, the source added. Vodafone and Huawei declined to comment.

The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid using Huawei equipment in their next generation telecoms networks and to closely scrutinize rival ZTE, saying the companies could pose a security risk.  Huawei and ZTE strongly deny the allegations.

In the last 12 months, Italy has adopted a tougher stance on Huawei, while not banning it entirely from 5G infrastructure.

Under previous Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Rome prevented telecoms group Fastweb in October from signing a deal with Huawei to supply equipment for its 5G core network, where highly sensitive data is processed.

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In Malaysia a former deputy minister of international trade and industry, Kian Ming Ong, told Sydney Morning Herald it hadn’t seen any proof of vulnerabilities in Huawei’s network equipment.  He said the government was likely to select Huawei as prime supplier to its national wholesale 5G network.

Huawei would be selected by a specially formed 5G government agency as the majority provider for Malaysia’s so-called single wholesale network. Fellow Chinese company ZTE and Scandinavian heavyweights Ericsson and Nokia are among seven other potential vendors who have been asked to bid for the deal.

In a Nikeii Asia op-ed Huawei’s Vincent Peng wrote:

Huawei is caught in a rivalry between two great powers. Although U.S.-China relations may not thaw any time soon, it seems clear that the current administration is taking a more multilateral approach to the world than its predecessor did.

This gives us hope that there may eventually be a change in how the U.S. government chooses to treat Huawei and other global technology companies headquartered outside of the United States.

To register for Huawei’s Finance Summit 2021:

https://e.huawei.com/topic/2021-event-fsi-summit/en-ap/index.html

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References:

https://www.reuters.com/technology/italy-gives-vodafone-5g-deal-with-huawei-conditional-approval-sources-2021-05-31/

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/no-concrete-proof-of-espionage-malaysia-on-verge-of-huawei-5g-deal-20210531-p57wn4.html

https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Huawei-to-Joe-Biden-Let-s-talk

https://e.huawei.com/topic/2021-event-fsi-summit/en-ap/index.html

 

Huawei or Samsung: Leader in 5G declared Standard Essential Patents (SEPs)?

A new report, jointly released by IP consulting and analysis companies, Amplified and GreyB, disclosed that the top 6 companies (Huawei, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm) account for 64.9% in 18,887 declared patent families. In granted 10,763 declared patent families, 2,893 families have been identified as core SEPs where top 6 companies account for 72.5%.

Huawei was first with 530 patent families and a ratio 18.3%. Nokia and Samsung were ranked No. 2 and No. 3 with 14.6% and 12.9%. respectively.

The report is an update of the previous report “Exploration of 5G Standards and Preliminary Findings on Essentiality” released on May 26, 2020.

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Separately, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced on March 10th that it has ranked first in 5G Standard Essential Patent (SEP)¹ shares according to a patent essentiality study conducted by IPlytics2, a Berlin-based market intelligence firm comprised of economists, scientists and engineers. The findings were published in IPlytics’ recent report: “Who is leading the 5G patent race? A patent landscape analysis on declared SEPs and standards contributions.”

Samsung also ranked second in two other categories: share of 5G granted3 and active patent4 families5, and share of 5G granted and active patent families with at least one of them granted by the EPO (European Patent Office) or USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

Last year, Samsung also led in 5G patents as a result of its research and development of 5G standards and technologies.

the top 10 companies own more than 80% of all granted 5G patent families, while the top 20 own more than 93% of all 5G granted patent families. These numbers confirm that there are only a few major large 5G patent owners, but looking at overall 5G declarations, the IPlytics Platform database identified more than 100 independent companies, which have declared ownership of at least one 5G patent.

The 5G patent family statistics presented in Table 1 are not based on verified SEP families. Neither ETSI nor the declaring companies have published independent assessments of the essentiality or validity of the declared 5G patents. Thus, the 5G patent families presented are only potentially essential. Many well-known SEP studies estimate that between 20% and 30% of all declared patents are essential. However, the essentiality rate differs across patent portfolios. To better understand the essentiality rate across portfolios, IPlytics created a data set of 1,000 5G-declared patent families (EPO/USPTO granted), which independent experts have mapped to 5G specifications. Here, the experts mapped the patents for six hours in a first check and then EPO/USPTO patent attorneys double-checked the mapping for a further three hours.

Table 1. Top 5G patent declaring companies (with >1% share)

Current Assignee 5G families 5G granted and active families 5G EPO/USPTO granted and active families 5G EPO/USPTO granted and active families not declared to other generations
Huawei (CN) 15.39% 15.38% 13.96% 17.57%
Qualcomm (US) 11.24% 12.91% 14.93% 16.36%
ZTE (CN) 9.81% 5.64% 3.44% 2.54%
Samsung Electronics (KR) 9.67% 13.28% 15.10% 14.72%
Nokia (FN) 9.01% 13.23% 15.29% 11.85%
LG Electronics (KR) 7.01% 8.7% 10.3% 11.48%
Ericsson (SE) 4.35% 4.59% 5.25% 3.79%
Sharp (JP) 3.65% 4.62% 4.66% 5.50%
Oppo (CN) 3.47% 0.95% 0.64% 1%
CATT Datang Mobile (CN) 3.44% 0.85% 0.46% 0.68%
Apple (US) 3.21% 1.46% 1.66% 2.15%
NTT Docomo (JP) 3.18% 1.98% 2.25% 1.9%

Source: IPlytics

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Superscript Notes:

[1] “A patent that protects technology essential to a standard”, European Commission report – “Setting out the EU approach to Standard Essential Patents”, p1, November 2017.
[2] “IPlytics derived the “essential rate” by creating a random data set of 1,000 5G-declared patent families (EPO/USPTO granted) and mapping it to 5G specifications.” . Available : https://www.iam-media.com/who-leading-the-5g-patent-race-patent-landscape-analysis-declared-seps-and-standards-contributions
[3] “a patent that is granted by at least one of patent offices”, IPlytics report – “who is leading the 5G patent race”, p5, November 2019.
[4] “in active status, which means it has not lapsed, been revoked or expired”, IPlytics report – “who is leading the 5G patent race”, p3, November 2019.
[5] “a collection of patent applications covering the same or similar technical content”, . Available: https://www.epo.org/searching-for-patents/helpful-resources/first-time-here/patent-families.html

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References:

https://www.amplified.ai/news/5g-updated

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59fa01a118b27d1bfef7f050/t/603caec7fe1d40450f23c831/1614589756133/5G+Report+%28Updated+findings%29.pdf

https://www.greyb.com/5g-patents/

https://news.samsung.com/us/samsung-extends-leadership-5g-patents/

https://www.iam-media.com/who-leading-the-5g-patent-race-patent-landscape-analysis-declared-seps-and-standards-contributions

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/06/24/greyb-study-huawei-undisputed-leader-in-5g-standard-essential-patents-seps/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/07/10/5g-specifications-3gpp-5g-radio-standard-imt-2020-and-standard-essential-patents/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/10/03/is-a-new-5g-patent-war-in-the-works-expert-opinion-review-of-5g-patent-studies/

 

 

Huawei and China Mobile test 5G indoor Massive MIMO

Huawei and China Mobile Guangdong have completed a test of 5G indoor distributed Massive MIMO. This pilot was completed in the 2.6 GHz inter-frequency band (80 MHz + 80 MHz) in Huawei’s Southern Factory in Dongguan, an important industrial city in China’s Pearl River Delta. According to Huawei, the cell uplink throughput peaked at 1.2 Gbps.

The pilot was conducted using LampSite, Huawei’s 5G digital indoor network product, based on the 2.6 GHz inter-frequency networking (80 MHz + 80 MHz). Distributed Massive MIMO was enabled in multiple 5G indoor cells to provide the large capacity needed to support 5GtoB (5G to Business) services and meet their high requirements for uplink experience. The peak uplink experience was quadrupled compared with traditional 4T4R cells.

Indoor distributed Massive MIMO introduces Massive MIMO for macro base stations to indoor networks. It is an innovative approach by Huawei to continuously increase the capacity of indoor 5G networks. The technology supports up to 64T64R channels and pools beamforming, MU-MIMO, and other technologies to ensure high capacity in the uplink and consistent user-perceived data speeds. Such a high level of performance makes it perfectly for smart production in which service terminals are frequently relocated for flexible production. Adding another competitive edge to empower 5G to transform industries.

The pilot is of great significance to indoor 5G, providing carriers with a new option to ensure premium uplink experience for emerging industrial services, such as video transfer and AGV operations, and expand 5G to factories, ports, power grids, airports, transportation, security, and many other industrial markets.

Huawei will continue to work with China Mobile Guangdong in innovating 5G to improve 5G performance, build competitive 5G networks, and lead the development of 5G to Business customers.

Previously, the two companies deployed indoor 5G at a Shanghai train station.
References:

Huawei: 5G Technology Illuminates the Future + Huawei analysis

On the eve of  MWC Shanghai 2021Ryan Ding, CEO and President of Huawei’s Carrier Business Group, talked about “5G technology lights up the future.”

“2020 has been a difficult year. During that period, Huawei worked closely with our customers,” said Ding.

In 2020, Huawei supported the stable operations of more than 300 networks in more than 170 countries and helped operators offer online services and minimize the impact of the pandemic on their businesses. In collaboration with Huawei, the operators attracted 22 million new residential wireless broadband users around the world. Thanks to this, people can easily access telemedicine services and work from home.

“5G developed faster than we expected.”  More than 140 commercial 5G networks have been implemented in 59 countries.

According to Ding, more than 50% of these networks were built by Huawei. The ecosystem is also developing. In China , more than 68% of the smartphones distributed in 2020 were 5G phones. More than 200 industrial 5G modules and devices are currently available, supporting 5G applications in a wide range of industries.

Huawei’s Ryan Deng talking up 5G

According to reports prepared in 2020 by market research firms such as IHS, P3, OpenSignal and Meqyas, the best 5G networks in Seoul, Amsterdam, Madrid, Zurich, Hong Kong and Riyadh were the ones that Huawei built.

Ding highlighted that a good experience on the web is the foundation of commercial success and that these six cities are only the tip of the iceberg of its purpose of collaborative innovation with the operators.

For example, by implementing Huawei’s AAU 64T64R and market-leading multi-antenna algorithms, LG u + achieved greater spectrum efficiency and a network experience more than 25% better than other carriers. With Huawei’s Blade AAU, which can operate in the Sub3G and C bands, Sunrise reduced site acquisition time from 24 months to just 6 months and was the only operator with 5 consecutive outstanding ratings in Switzerland.

5G is becoming part of the core production processes of industries.  Looking ahead, Ding was optimistic about the prospect of a large-scale deployment of 5G industrial applications in 2021.

5G applications have been incorporated in more than 20 industries including manufacturing, healthcare, education and logistics. The manager pointed to examples of sectors in China where industrial 5G applications are already proving their value, such as in coal mining and steel fabrication and production, where the adoption of 5G technology has made production safer, smarter and more efficient. He also stressed: “5G is no longer exclusive to pioneer users, but aims to improve our daily lives. 2021 will be the 1st year with large-scale industrial 5G applications.

Operators will need new capabilities in planning areas network operations, implementation, maintenance, optimization and operations to achieve zero-to-one progress and replicate one-to-many success.

At the next MWC Shanghai, Huawei will hold in-depth exhibitions and discussions on these topics with stakeholders. of the sector, both online and through means that do not require connection. We will continue to innovate to help our customers develop the best 5G networks and achieve greater business success.”

SOURCE: Huawei

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Analysis by Iain Morris of Light Reading:

Of today’s 140 “live” 5G networks, Huawei built more than half, said Ryan Ding, the head of Huawei’s networks division, during the company’s traditional briefing before the annual MWC Shanghai show (normally scheduled for June, it switched places with the bigger Barcelona show this year due to coronavirus).

Huawei can rely on a domestic market that has awarded almost 90% of all mobile infrastructure business to Chinese vendors. When the number of 5G base stations in a country hits 700,000, as it did last year in China, any pain elsewhere becomes tolerable.  Several hundred thousand more are planned in 2021. Contrast that with Europe, where the entire region in 2019 hosted fewer than half a million mobile sites, according to Ernst & Young.

Even in Europe, Huawei’s networks business has not suffered as badly as it might have done. Several big countries have resisted political pressure to copy the UK and exclude Huawei from the future 5G market. They include Germany, where Huawei last year accounted for more than half the country’s mobile infrastructure. Its government undoubtedly fears the ramifications of a ban for exports of cars and machine tools to China.


Huawei’s massive fixed-line business has also been allowed to chug on outside the UK, which is now weighing a final decision. Smaller than the radio access networks business, broadband products still generated more than $8.4 billion in global revenues last year, according to Omdia, a sister company to Light Reading. Some 43% of that went to Huawei. In France, where authorities have indicated they will not renew licenses for Huawei’s mobile equipment, Orange counts Huawei as one of its two main broadband vendors (the other being Nokia).

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Several European operators, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Spain’s Telefónica, have previously bought Huawei equipment for the cloud services they offer to their business customers. “Huawei provides standards servers (with the so-called x86 architecture) for the Open Telekom Cloud,” said a Deutsche Telekom spokesperson, in an email to Light Reading, when asked if that equipment remained in use.

Reference:

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/huawei-is-proving-as-hard-to-stop-as-movie-supervillain

 

Global Data: Huawei #1 amongst 5 major LTE RAN vendors

Executive Summary:

GlobalData, a leading market data and analytics company, has rated Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio to be a leader in the market. In competitive analyses of five major RAN vendors, GlobalData evaluated 4G LTE base station portfolios according to four key areas important to mobile operators: baseband unit (BBU) capacity, radio unit portfolio breadth, ease of deployment and technological evolution. GlobalData found Huawei to be a Leader in all four categories and a Leader overall among its peers.

Editor’s Note/ Disclaimer:

We don’t know whether Huawei paid Global Data (?) to evaluate 4G LTE vendor portfolios or if that was done indepedently on Global Data’s own initiative.  It’s disturbing that we could not find a related report or media press release on the company’s website after doing multiple searches.

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LTE RAN Basics: In the RAN, radio sites provide radio access and coordinate the management of resources across the radio sites. User Equipment (e.g. wireless network endpoints) are connected to Nodes (base stations or small cells) using LTE.  Radio Network Controllers are wirelessly connected to the core network which for LTE is called the Evolved Packet Core (EPC).    This is depicted in the illustration below:

Radio Access Network

Source:  Research Gate

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Huawei has introduced new advances in its LTE RAN portfolio to enhance the coverage and capacity of mobile networks. It also offers solutions to aid the coordination of 4G and 5G networks and to enable new services for operators.  The Chinese IT behemoth has the highest BBU cell capacity – in terms of both LTE carriers and Narrowband IoT – of any major RAN vendor. It also offers more radio units and more Massive MIMO options than other vendors and supports a wide array of 4G spectrum bands. To make deployment easier, Huawei offers multiple novel solutions, including its Super Blade Site and Bracelet Kit offerings. And to help operators evolve their networks technologically, Huawei has been proactive in commercializing spectrum-sharing capabilities such as its CloudAIR solution, which allows various access technologies (2G/3G/4G/5G) to use the same spectrum, and its SuperBAND solution, which can improve user experience under multi-frequency networks.

This portfolio is well-suited to meet the diverse needs of the world’s mobile operators, and Huawei continues to expand its RAN portfolio to help operators prepare for the future and maximize the value of their LTE networks.

Coverage:

Adequate network coverage is an essential characteristic for ensuring quality mobile services. It becomes especially important in LTE networks as 5G is deployed in high-frequency bands whose coverage footprint areas are more limited. LTE must cover the areas that 5G does not.

To enhance the coverage of 4G/5G networks, Huawei has introduced the Blade Pro solution. The Blade Pro Ultra-Wideband Remote Radio Unit (RRU) is a pole-mountable RU that supports three low or medium Frequency-Division Duplex (FDD) bands simultaneously: it currently supports 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz; and in late 2021, it will support 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz.

By supporting three frequency bands in a single 25-kilogram unit, the Blade Pro eliminates the need for two boxes, reducing the load on poles, easing the burden on installers and making deployment faster, smoother and less expensive. Making installation easier means operators are better able to increase coverage by expanding or densifying their networks.

Capacity:

Operators face the eternal challenge of keeping up with ever-increasing user demand for data at faster speeds in the space of finite spectrum. One way to add network capacity without finding additional spectrum is to deploy greater antenna arrays, upgrading radios with two transceivers to those with four or eight, for example, or adding Massive MIMO antennas bearing 32 or 64 arrays.

Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio now includes a radio unit with eight transceivers and receivers for enhanced capacity, useful for urban hotspot areas. The “Smart 8T8R” solution also gives operators flexibility in their migration to 5G. The FDD 8T8R RRU is hardware-ready for 5G NR, and the antenna array is software-defined, meaning its configuration can be adjusted – without changing the hardware – for example, to six sectors for LTE and three sectors for 5G. The solution also dynamically adjusts the power supply allocated to sectors according to how users are distributed. This flexibility can be helpful in allowing operators to serve specific needs on a site-by-site basis and to adapt in real time to changes in user behavior. On TDD side, meanwhile, Huawei leverages its considerable research in TDD-LTE to offer an 8T8R IMB (Intelligent Multi-Beam) solution, which is also based on a software-defined antenna and promises to deliver 1.8-2.2x capacity gains compared with more common products.

For even higher capacity needs, Huawei has introduced the “Smart Massive MIMO” solution, a dual-band 5G-ready 4G radio with 32 transceivers and receivers promising three to five times the download speeds compared with more common products. Like the Smart 8T8R solution, Smart Massive MIMO automatically adjusts the power allocated to individual beams based on user traffic patterns. This lends efficiency in two ways, since Massive MIMO beamforming is itself a more efficient use of mobile spectrum than traditional antenna arrays, and the Smart Massive MIMO solution uses its power supply more efficiently than typical Massive MIMO gear.

4G/5G Coordination:

In addition to the ways Huawei’s aforementioned gear balances and coordinates 4G and 5G networks, its portfolio also includes other solutions to further optimize the relationship between the two.

Its SuperBAND solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) to aggregate network scheduling – the coordinated allocation of radio resources to mobile signals – among multiple frequency carriers, essentially boosting network capacity beyond the divisions and fragmentation of various spectrum bands. In 4G/5G networks, SuperBAND can perform this aggregation across both 4G and 5G, maximizing spectral efficiency and, ultimately, optimizing the quality of the user experience.

Meanwhile, Huawei also offers Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) as part of its CloudAIR solution. DSS allows 4G and 5G traffic to share the same spectrum bands, increasing spectral usage efficiency; it also allows 4G and 5G traffic to dynamically switch from one band to another, regardless of radio access technology, in response to congestion on specific bands, ensuring the best use of spectrum even as user behavior changes. CloudAIR goes even further, applying a similar spectrum-sharing function to 2G and 3G traffic as well for a more comprehensive capability that is especially relevant to markets where legacy networks remain.

New Service Enablement:

Enhancing and optimizing the network are important aims, but from a commercial perspective, one of the most important imperatives operators face is the need to deliver new revenue-generating services. Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio addresses this requirement in multiple ways.

Huawei’s Voice-over-LTE solution, VoLTE Plus, helps operators migrate voice traffic from legacy technologies like 2G and 3G to LTE, not only achieving higher quality voice service but also allowing operators to sunset their legacy networks and repurpose their VoLTE investments for the future. In addition, Huawei’s latest VoLTE solution, goes further, adding four new capabilities that help protect the quality of voice service in 4G/5G networks:

  • 5G-to-LTE EPS fallback
  • LTE-to-5G fast return
  • New Enhanced Voice Services capabilities
  • Dedicated services that allow for optimization on LTE

Beyond voice, Huawei’s LTE portfolio also supports Narrowband IoT, to capture opportunities in the Internet-of-Things space. The vendor’s roadmap also targets support for 5G NB-IoT in particular, which will allow operators with existing IoT services to migrate those services to their 4G/5G network and replace disparate or ad-hoc legacy networks with a unified network that yields multiple revenue streams from a common infrastructure investment.

Huawei’s portfolio also enables new services via fixed wireless access (FWA) products. Amid the global pandemic, the increase in telecommuting and home-based learning based on video connections has increased the demand for residential broadband networks. Where fiber isn’t available, FWA is vital in building these residential networks. Huawei’s LTE-based FWA solutions have achieved enviable momentum in the market. The vendor has also added 4G/5G customer premises equipment to its portfolio, giving these networks a future-proof migration path to continued service enablement.

Conclusion

Huawei’s LTE RAN portfolio continues to evolve in order to help operators maximize the value of their networks as they prepare for the future. New solutions in the portfolio enhance the coverage and capacity of LTE networks as well as maximize network efficiency by coordinating 4G and 5G operations. Meanwhile, Huawei offers multiple solutions aimed at enabling the delivery of additional services that can help operators grow revenue in a variety of ways, including VoLTE, the Internet of Things and FWA.

SOURCE:  GlobalData

Reference:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/globaldata-lte-ran-innovation-and-competitiveness-insight-301202706.html

 

WSJ: Samsung (not Ericsson or Nokia) best alternative to Huawei for 5G network equipment

By Elizabeth Koh

The Trump administration’s campaign pressuring allies to avoid 5G equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co. always had a hometown hitch: The U.S. doesn’t have a domestic manufacturer to rival the Chinese company.  The best alternative may be South Korea’s Samsung Electronics

Samsung makes all of its network gear domestically and in India. That distinguishes it from its European rivals, Ericsson AB and Nokia Corp. , which both have significant manufacturing operations in China. Beijing has weighed retaliating against Nokia and Ericsson for any action by European Union members against Huawei by barring them from sending their Chinese-made products abroad, according to people familiar with the matter. Were that to happen, it could slow deliveries by the European companies in an already-competitive 5G rollout. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied considering that option.

Samsung already has some unique ties with the U.S. beyond the home appliances filling American homes. The company long ago won Pentagon clearance for government use of Samsung devices equipped with its Knox security software, which allows users to safeguard sensitive data on their phones and for years was overseen by a former Pentagon chief information officer. Devices with Knox software are used by military personnel in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

The South Korean firm two years ago opened a new, seven-story office in Washington just a mile from Capitol Hill. Along with Nokia and Ericsson, Samsung drew an invitation for a planned White House strategy meeting on 5G in April that has been delayed indefinitely.

Samsung is far better known as the world’s largest producer of smartphones and televisions. But the firm is making a big push to turn its sleepy networks business into a 5G winner. Its differentiator is its product range, covering all aspects of 5G, from smartphones to base stations to the underlying chips that make network connections possible.

Samsung is one of four major 5G players. Huawei controls about a third of the 5G network market, trailed by Ericsson with a fourth and Nokia with about a fifth, according to market tracker Dell’Oro. Samsung has roughly 13%.

After flirting for years with major U.S. telecom carriers with limited success, Samsung is pushing hard—and succeeding—in its efforts to get a second look with Huawei off the table.

In September, Samsung announced it had signed a $6.65 billion deal with the largest U.S. wireless carrier, Verizon Communications Inc., the Korean company’s biggest such contract to date. Samsung, which is a secondary equipment vendor to AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc., is also still pursuing bigger deals with those carriers. Carriers often use multiple vendors for network infrastructure so they don’t rely on a single source of equipment.

Samsung’s 5G momentum is building just as the U.S. rollout is expected to hit another gear following Apple’s recent introduction of its first 5G phones.

PHOTO: GEORGE FREY/REUTERS

But Samsung is still, in part, relying on Ericsson and Nokia tripping up to bolster its case, says Ryan Koontz, a senior research analyst for Rosenblatt Securities, a New York-based brokerage firm.

Nokia, for example, was Verizon’s primary equipment vendor before the Samsung deal, Mr. Koontz says. But several problems—including a recent stumble with a key computer chip for 5G deployment—likely hurt Nokia’s relationship with the carrier for years, he says. Neither Nokia nor Verizon commented for this article.   Ericsson, meanwhile, is just emerging from a costly yearslong restructuring, though it has recently returned to profitability.

Samsung’s timing is perfect,” Mr. Koontz says. “The 5G programs are set up for a banner year.”   Samsung’s 5G momentum is building just as the U.S. rollout is expected to hit another gear following Apple Inc.’s recent introduction of its first-ever lineup of 5G iPhones. The new iPhones are expected to boost sales of 5G-capable handsets to 20% of all U.S. phone sales in 2020, according to market tracker Counterpoint Research. That would mean substantially more subscribers to motivate the nation’s three main carriers to speed the expansion of their 5G networks. All three have some 5G coverage now, though some of the fastest service remains limited to certain cities.

                                                   Worldwide Total Telecom Equipment Market ShareSource: Dell’Oro Group:

HuaweiNokiaEricssonZTE, and Cisco comprised 28% (28%), 16% (17%), 14% (14%), 10% (8%), 7% (8%), respectively.

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Samsung ships one out of every five smartphones shipped globally. The company has sought to leverage its wide base of users as an asset for its network business, touting its experience building 5G phones and its devices’ ability to interact smoothly with its end-to-end network offerings. Controlling the network infrastructure throughout, Samsung says, ensures faster speeds.

The South Korean conglomerate had set a target back in 2018 to grab 20% of the 5G network market by next year. But attaining that goal won’t be easy, despite its deep pockets and Huawei being blocked in many key markets.

Samsung’s push to broaden its network business is unprecedented for the industry, because it has such a small presence for existing 4G LTE and 3G networks globally, industry analysts say. Network gear traditionally builds on the equipment laid down for previous wireless standards, meaning bigger players in the network industry have enjoyed a solid starting advantage.

Even with Huawei forcibly stripped out of the network market, operators must weigh the significant cost and effort that would be required to tear out their existing equipment for another company’s new network. In the U.K., backing away from Huawei could delay its 5G rollout for years, and operators could pay billions to replace their hardware, the British minister in charge of digital issues, Oliver Dowden, has said.

Should Samsung succeed in making its case in the U.S., the payoff in the form of a substantial revenue increase likely wouldn’t emerge until late next year, analysts say. But Samsung is unlikely to see another upstart challenger making a similar case while the U.S. lags behind in making network equipment at home.

There’s not a lot of choices for some networking equipment,” says Stan Adams, deputy general counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology. “If there are concerns about security and foreign-made networking equipment, that’s going to be a problem until we change our manufacturing base.”

Ms. Koh is a Wall Street Journal reporter based in Seoul. She can be reached at elizabeth.koh@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/samsung-may-be-the-beneficiary-as-the-u-s-targets-huawei-11605047937?mod=hp_jr_pos1

Huawei Executive: “China’s 5G user experience is fake, dumb and poor”-is it a con game?

At the opening ceremony of the China International Information and Communication Exhibition on October 14th, Ding Yun, executive director of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd  said that China’s 5G user experience has three problems of “fake, dumb, and poor.”  In particular, some users have a 5G LOGO on their mobile phones, but they are not connected to the 5G network, cannot make 5G calls, or frequently switch signals, according to an article by Xia Xutian on the Sina Tech website.

How could a Huawei executive say such things about its home country which supposedly has very close ties, impact and influence on the world’s top telecom equipment supplier and #1 or #2 global smartphone vendor?  See Comment and Analysis below for more on this.

While China has built the world’s largest 5G network, it has a gap in experience, coverage, and commercial closed-loop operation, Ding Yun said. For comparison purposes, that the 5G downlink rate in South Korea is more than 600 megabits while the average in China is only a bit more than 270 megabits.  South Korea’s 5G user penetration at the end of September reached 25%, while China’s penetration level is only about 8%.

“Objectively speaking, I am also a 5G user. We have just completed the first phase of 5G construction today. It is indeed a great improvement over the 4G experience, but our network still has many problems. I use three words to sum it up: fake, dumb, bad/poor.”

Huawei's Ryan Ding is scathing about China's much lauded 5G rollout. (Source: Huawei)

Huawei’s Ryan Ding speaking at the China International Information and Communication Exhibition about 5G in China

Photo Credit: Huawei

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What’s fake? In many cases the user’s smartphone has a 5G logo but no 5G coverage.  The experience is still 4G, but the display is 5G.  Those users are not connected to the 5G network and can’t make 5G calls.”

What is dumb? Some places in China have 5G signal coverage, but there is no 4G anchor station, so calls cannot be made.  He said the anchor point of 4G happens to be on the edge of multiple cells. The frequent handover of 4G and 5G results in a very poor user experience.

Ding Yun noted that although the number of 5G users in China has reached 150 million, the matching rate of networks, mobile phones and packages of 5G users is still very low. Many users have bought 5G packages, but their mobile phones are still 4G. There are also many users who have 5G mobile phones, but there is no 5G network coverage in their geographical area.

Ding Yun pointed out that operations and maintenance costs are also an unavoidable issue for 5G. At present, the peak rate of 5G is 25 times that of 4G, but 5G equipment (especially mmWave if and when deployed in China) will greatly increase the power consumption of 5G base stations, which poses a huge challenge to the entire power supply system (not to mention the huge electricity costs incurred by the 5G network operator).

“We have conducted a survey on the power consumption of China’s network. About 32% of the sites have insufficient power, and in some places, the battery capacity is also insufficient,” he added.

Ding Yun urged 5G network operators to:

1] build out 5G business ecosystems through innovative and differentiated applications;

2] reduce expenditure and optimize the TCO of operators from an overall perspective; and

3] look towards the future and upgrade the current operating platform as soon as possible to face potential problems such as the bill storm that 5G will bring.

In response to the 3rd objective, Huawei is using big data to connect user data, operational data, and terminal data, so that the machine, network, and applications can provide a better match.

In conclusion Ding Yun suggested the following:

  • To build the most successful 5G for thousands of industries, wireless network operators must first have a deep understanding of the industries they are targeting.  Different industries have different specific requirements for 5G in terms of latency, reliability/availability, throughput, security, etc. Therefore, to develop 5G industry applications, we first need to clarify the boundaries of capabilities, consolidate the ability base to serve thousands of industries, implement a replicable business model, and actively promote ecological construction, especially the development of application ecology.
  • As operators expand the construction of 5G industry applications from connection to connectivity + computing, and then to SLA (network) slicing, their corresponding business models will gradually shift from a direct sales model to a value sharing model that combines active integration and integration . Ultimately, the business model of 5G industry applications will develop in the direction of multi-path, closed-loop, and multi-win as operators choose their roles.
  • Unify (5G and other) standards and develop ecology. (What 5G standards is he referring to? There are none at this time).  The application development of the 5G industry is not only a matter for operators, but also requires the entire industry chain to “stretch it into one strand” and integrate the telecommunications industry with other industries to form industry standards. Only in this way can the development of 5G industry applications be accelerated.

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Comment and Analysis:

Ding Yun’s remarks are a refreshing change from the usual self congratulatory speeches given by 5G network operators and equipment suppliers (like Huawei).  We are astonished he can be so honest with the Chinese government and China Communist Party having so much control over telecommunications and other industries in China.

Here are a few copy/paste (and translated from Chinese to English) Sina reader comments:

“I have not found a demand for 5G in the current application (environment)”

“Haha, so embarrassing[Yun Bei][Yun Bei]

“China’s 5G, got up early. Experience the night episode (where there is no 5G service to conserve electricity costs for carriers)”

“In Qingdao, there is basically no real 5G SA network. When only the SA mode is selected, the 5G signal is gone, and now the operator’s 5G speed limit is 500M bps”

“The conclusion is that I continue to use my 4G”

“The worst is a three-year contract with China Mobile”

 “The three major operators are too hateful and must be punished.”

“China network operators are deliberately lowering the 4G signal, forcing everyone to use 5G. Just this dirty trick, give his grandma a whistle.”

“No 5G signal coverage.”

“Fake, dumb, and bad are synonymous with China’s three major network operators.”

“What is the conclusion? For 5G, it’s better to wait first, don’t worry about changing phones [Hee hee], let alone changing pricing packages. It’s not very useful and costs money.[Yun Bei]

“The basic meaning is, the operator, burn me[doge]

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Email from a very knowledgeable, anonymous Chinese 5G expert corroborates what Ding Yun said:

  • China claims they have 100 millions of 5G end point devices now.  Actually, those are mostly 4G handsets whose users were coerced to subscribe to a 5G package. The 3 major state owned network operators purposely lowered 4G-LTE speeds and forced subscribers change to the 5G package which only provides the previous 4G-LTE speeds.
  • China claims they have deployed 40,000 5G NR base stations. But without URLLC (ultra high reliability, ultra low latency) enhancements to 5GNR (3GPP Release 16) and mMTC (massive machine to machine communications) standards, 5G NR is not complete.  (3GPP has not set a date for the conclusion and evaluation of URLLC in the RAN performance testing which is supposed to be in the “frozen” 3GPP Release 16 set of specs)
  • There are no mmWave 5G base stations at all in China.
  • Currently China 5G  base stations consume huge amounts of energy, so the 3 major 5G network operators shut them down at night to reduce electricity bills.  Note the above readers comment, “Experience the night episode.”
  • Former minister of China Ministry of Finance and seated deputy minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently publicly expressed concerns about China’s 5G development and investments.  They said China had made bad 5G investments and that China has not yet balanced the 3G and 4G investments made by its network operators).
  • What kind of joke is this?

References:

https://finance.sina.com.cn/tech/2020-10-15/doc-iiznezxr6037613.shtml

https://t.cj.sina.com.cn/articles/view/1642471052/61e61e8c02000ynrk?cre=tianyi&mod=pcpager_tech&loc=1&r=9&rfunc=3&tj=none&tr=9

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/ap-explains-promise/KEKKYBDSVGE4W66CY24PMOYMJA/

Dell’Oro: Telecom equipment revenues to grow 5% through 2020; Huawei increases market share

Dell’Oro analysts say first half global telecom equipment [1.] revenues were up 4% YoY in 1st half of 2020, as 5G infrastructure investments offset declines due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  The market research firm forecasts a 5% advance for the entire year.

Rollouts of 5G wireless, especially in China, were a primary cause of the first half increases, which benefit the entire supply chain, including telecommunications semiconductors.  China 5G spending surely helped Huawei increase its market share, despite U.S. sanctions.

Note 1. Dell’Oro includes the following types in the telecom equipment market: Broadband Access, Microwave & Optical Transport, Mobile Core & Radio Access Network, SP Router & Carrier Ethernet Switch

In the first half of 2020, double digit growth in mobile infrastructure offset declining investments in broadband access, microwave and optical transport and service provider routers and ethernet switches, Dell’Oro said. Statista analysts in June said 2020 telecom equipment revenues should nearly reach $50 billion.

Rankings of the biggest telecom equipment providers  remained the same in the first half of 2020, with Huawei dominating at 31%, followed by Nokia and Ericsson tied at 14% each, then ZTE at 11% and Cisco at 6%, according to Dell’Oro.

Huawei telecommunications market share 2020

Second quarter results were stronger than expected following a 4% decline in the first quarter. The biggest driver was a strong rebound in China across 5G Radio Access Network, 5G Core and other areas. Supply chain disruptions of the first quarter also stabilized in the second quarter, Dell’Oro said.

Additional key takeaways from the 2Q20 reporting period include:

  • Following the 4% Y/Y decline during 1Q20, the overall telecom equipment market returned to growth in the second quarter, with particularly strong growth in mobile infrastructure and slower but positive growth for Optical Transport and SP Routers & CES, which was more than enough to offset weaker demand for Broadband Access and Microwave Transport.
  • For the 1H20 period, double-digit growth in mobile infrastructure offset declining investments in Broadband Access, Microwave and Optical Transport, and SP Routers & CES.
  • The results in the quarter were stronger than expected, driven by a strong rebound in China across multiple technology segments including 5G RAN, 5G Core, GPON, SP Router & CES, and Optical Transport.
  • Also helping to explain the output acceleration in the quarter was the stabilization of various supply chain disruptions that impacted the results for some of the technology segments in the first quarter.
  • Shifting usage patterns both in terms of location and time and surging Internet traffic due COVID-19 has resulted in some infrastructure capacity upside, albeit still not proportional to the overall traffic surge, reflecting operators ability to address traffic increases and dimension the network for additional peak hours throughout the day using a variety of tools.
  • Even though the pandemic is still inflicting high human and economic losses, the Dell’Oro analyst team believes the more upbeat trends in the second quarter will extend to the second half, propelling the overall telecom equipment market to advance 5% in 2020.

Semiconductor officials are less optimistic for the rest of the year with SIA President John Neuffer recent saying “substantial market uncertainty remains for the rest of the year.”   Semiconductor sales were up 5% in July, reaching $35 billion, but dropped in early August, according to reports.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, about 33% of all semiconductors made (the largest category) are devoted to communications, including networking equipment and radios in smartphones.

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References:

Key Takeaways – The Telecom Equipment Market 1H20

 

https://www.fierceelectronics.com/electronics/telecom-equipment-revenues-to-grow-5-through-2020

 

 

 

UPDATED: Huawei now #1 global smartphone vendor

Despite the severe U.S. restrictions on Huawei, the company has succeeded in taking the top spot in the global smartphone market, according to figures from Canalys. The market research firm estimates Huawei shipped more smartphones worldwide than any other vendor for the first time in Q2 2020, marking the first quarter in nine years that a company other than Samsung or Apple led the market.

Note, however, that global smartphone sales DECLINED in the second quarter. Huawei shipped an estimated 55.8 million devices in the quarter, down 5 percent year on year. Samsung came second with 53.7 million smartphones, down 30 percent from a year earlier.

Huawei’s resilience was due to its strong position in China, where its shipments rose 8 percent in Q2. This offset an estimated 27 percent fall in its shipments abroad. Canalys estimates over 70 percent of Huawei’s smartphone sales are now in mainland China.  That helps explains why the company can be so successful in selling smartphones, despite not being able to use licensed Google Android and associated apps on its latest flagship devices (that’s because Huawei was placed on the U.S. Entity list last year).

Canalys said the situation would likely not have happened without the Covid-19 pandemic. Huawei profited from the strong recovery in the Chinese economy, while Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1 percent market share, and suffered from the restrictions in key markets such as the US, India, Brazil and Europe.

Canalys: Huawei overtakes Samsung in Q2 2020

“This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Ben Stanton. “If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it wouldn’t have happened. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business. Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1% market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns.”

“Taking first place is very important for Huawei,” said Canalys Analyst Mo Jia. “It is desperate to showcase its brand strength to domestic consumers, component suppliers and developers. It needs to convince them to invest, and will broadcast the message of its success far and wide in the coming months. But it will be hard for Huawei to maintain its lead in the long term. Its major channel partners in key regions, such as Europe, are increasingly wary of ranging Huawei devices, taking on fewer models, and bringing in new brands to reduce risk. Strength in China alone will not be enough to sustain Huawei at the top once the global economy starts to recover.”

As a result, it will be hard for Huawei to maintain its lead in the long term. Its major channel partners in key regions such as Europe are increasingly wary of stocking Huawei devices, taking on fewer models and bringing in new brands to reduce risk, as per the above Canalys quote from analyst Mo Jia.

Separately, Gartner estimates that 10% of smartphone shipments, or about 220 million units in 2020, will have 5G capability, but they’ll work on “5G” networks with a LTE core (5G NSA).

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The logo of Chinese company Huawei at their main U.K. offices in Reading, west of London, on January 28, 2020.

Addendum:

Huawei’s just announced global licensing agreement with Qualcomm grants Huawei back rights to some of the San Diego-based company’s patents effective Jan. 1, 2020. It remains to be seen if Huawei will design smartphone components that use those patents in their next generation of 5G endpoint devices.

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References:

https://www.canalys.com/newsroom/Canalys-huawei-samsung-worldwide-smartphone-market-q2-2020

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/16/huawei-aims-to-overtake-samsung-as-no-1-smartphone-player-by-2020.html

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Update- August 3, 2020:

According to market research firm Omdia, overall Q2-2020 smartphone shipment volume was down a hefty 15.7%, year-on-year, to 229.7 million units.

Samsung will certainly hope there are better times ahead. Omdia figures show the South Korean behemoth lost its #1 position in Q2, dislodged by Huawei.  Samsung’s Q2 shipments plummeted nearly 28%, year-on-year, to 54.3 million.

Many of Samsung’s most important markets, were significantly impacted by COVID-19, especially emerging markets, which apparently accounted for more than 70% of Samsung’s overall shipments in 2019.

For its part, Samsung is hopeful of a Q3 smartphone recovery, helped by the launch of new flagship models, including the Galaxy Note and a new foldable phone.

Huawei, helped by a resurgent domestic market in China, snagged a 20% global smartphone share during Q2 (55.8 million units), up from an 18% market share the previous quarter. Year-on-year, Huawei’s Q2 shipment units were down a comparatively modest 4.9%.

Source: Omdia

Apple was one of the few OEMs to increase Q2 shipment volumes, year-on-year (up 13.1%, to 39.9 million units).  The iPhone SE, a model with mid-range pricing, coupled with the iPhone 11, helped Apple expand its unit shipments, and cement its third-spot position with a market share of 14% (up from 11% in Q2 2019).

“With the launch of the iPhone SE in April, Apple has released a long-desired product, with an attractive price,” said Jusy Hong, director of smartphone research at Omdia.

“For existing iPhone users who needed to upgrade their smartphones in the second quarter, the new SE represented an affordable option that does not require a large downpayment or high monthly repayment rates,” added Hong.

Reference:

https://www.lightreading.com/huawei-apple-buck-q2-smartphone-trends—report/d/d-id/762886?

 

 

No stopping Huawei: 1st half 2020 revenues rose 13.1%, to $64.9 billion despite U.S. led boycott; ~60% of biz from China!

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the #1 telecom equipment company #2 smartphone maker, reported a 13.1% rise in revenue in the first half of the year, showing slower growth as U.S. officials continue to pressure the company’s suppliers and customers.  Revenue rose to 454 billion yuan ($64.90 billion) in the first half of the year. ($1 = 6.9958 Chinese yuan renminbi or RMB).  That was compared to 401.3 billion yuan revenues the year before. Huawei’s growth rate was down from 23.2% in the first half 2019. Huawei said net profit margins were 9.2%, up from 8.7% in the first half 2019.

Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Huawei’s new flagship store is seen ahead of tomorrow’s official opening in Shanghai, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, China June 23, 2020.

REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo: REUTERS

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The Chinese behemoth technology company posted the report a day before United Kingdom officials are expected to order the removal of Huawei gear from the nation’s telecommunications networks.

The results were published as Huawei fights a U.S.-led campaign to ban it from Europe’s 5G markets and choke off its supplies of components based on U.S. design expertise or manufacturing technology.  Speculation has risen that UK authorities will this week move to exclude Huawei from the country’s 5G market just months after saying they would restrict it to 35% of any radio access or fiber broadband network.

The UK government previously thought such restrictions – combined with a ban on Huawei in the intelligent “core” of any network – would mitigate the risk and minimize disruption to service providers reliant on Huawei technology.

But security watch dogs are now worried the latest U.S. sanctions would heighten risks and potentially threaten Huawei’s ability to continue serving UK operators.

While other European governments and operators have similar concerns, Huawei has been able to rely on a 5G rollout in China for sales growth.

Victor Zhang, the company’s head of government affairs, told UK officials last week that Huawei will this year erect about half a million base stations for Mobile, Telecom and Unicom, China’s three national operators.

The company has referred to the scale of the Chinese deployment in refuting suggestions it may run out of components early next year. With the current 35% cap on its UK role, it needs components for only about 20,000 UK base stations, which it can easily supply through existing inventory, said a Huawei spokesperson.

A breakdown of the figures released today indicates growth in all three of Huawei’s business lines.

At the carrier division, which develops network products for communications service providers, sales were up 9%, to RMB159.6 billion ($22.8 billion), despite coronavirus-triggered lockdowns in some of Huawei’s most important markets.

While Huawei did not provide a regional breakdown of the numbers, a Chinese splurge on 5G equipment is likely to have fueled the increase given the pressure elsewhere.

Last year, the Chinese market accounted for nearly 60% of Huawei’s entire business, a figure that proves any European restrictions would have only a limited effect on the company.

Huawei’s relatively small enterprise business managed a 15% increase in sales, to RMB36.3 billion ($5.2 billion), while its device-making consumer business – which last year blamed U.S, sanctions for wiping about $10 billion off sales – said revenues were up 16%, to about RMB255.8 billion ($36.6 billion).

“Our business depends on delivering what our customers need,” said Zhang in a prepared statement about the latest numbers. “These results show that they continue to choose Huawei when they want reliability, security and value.”

Zhang said: “Our priority here is to build a better-connected UK where everyone can benefit from 5G and fiber broadband, no matter where they live.”

BT and Vodafone, the UK operators most heavily reliant on Huawei’s products, have told UK officials they need at least five years to phase out the Chinese vendor.  Anything less and customers would face major disruption, including outages as equipment is replaced, said technology executives during a parliamentary committee last week.

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Huawei’s rise in sales comes after more than a year of pressure from American officials on the company’s suppliers and customers. The company sells 5G networking equipment to carriers and smart phones and laptops to consumers.

American officials placed Huawei on a blacklist in May of last year, restricting sales to the company of U.S.-made goods such as semiconductors. Huawei built up inventories and also continued to design its own chips and have them manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd and others.

“Huawei has promised to continue fulfilling its obligations to customers and suppliers, and to survive, forge ahead, and contribute to the global digital economy and technological development, no matter what future challenges the company faces,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

In May, U.S. officials announced new rules aimed at constricting Huawei’s ability to self-supply chips, an ability that is critical to its efforts to sell 5G networking gear.

The first half results showed faster growth than Huawei’s first quarter results released in April. For the first quarter, revenues rose by about 1% to 182.2 billion yuan, versus 39% growth posted a year previous. Net profit margin in the first quarter narrowed to 7.3% from about 8% a year earlier.

Huawei did not report unit shipments of phones. Research firm IDC reported Huawei was the second largest phone maker in the first quarter of 2020, with 17.8% market share, behind No. 1 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and ahead of No.3 Apple Inc.

References:

https://www.usnews.com/news/technology/articles/2020-07-13/huawei-reports-131-rise-in-first-half-revenue

https://www.lightreading.com/asia/huawei-books-$1b-growth-in-h1-profit-despite-us-led-backlash/d/d-id/762360?