Samsung makes European LTE network play

Korean vendor Samsung, better known for its success with devices than networks, has announced the creation of a new division tasked with breaking into the European LTE network equipment market. The European Network Operations organisation will seek to promote Samsung’s infrastructure products as well as a range of network optimisation solutions.

The firm said in a statement that the ENO will help to “increase awareness of its field-proven LTE solution,” adding that it will be “showcasing its full telecommunications ecosystem and LTE Solutions for the first time in Europe, at the LTE World Summit 2011 in Amsterdam.”

The cellular infrastructure market is one of the toughest operational spheres in the world. The exit of once substantial players like Motorola and Nortel, and the enforced mergers of Alcatel Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks are testament to this, and the rise of Chinese players Huawei and ZTE has served only to intensify the pressure on vendors competing for diminishing businesses. Europe in particular is well served and Samsung’s bid to break into the European market will be seen as optimistic in some quarters.

Yet the Korean vendor is confident of its ability to win business from more entrenched competitors. Youngki Kim, EVP and general manager of Samsung’s Telecommunication Systems Business, said: “We believe that ENO will play a pivotal role for Samsung in helping us achieve significant 4G LTE success in Europe, through the introduction of our  advanced LTE technologies.”

“Building on our 30 years’ of experience in the telecommunication systems industry, Samsung will prove that it’s the most reliable partner in Europe, as we have done all around the globe,” he said.

Among the products being displayed by Samsung at this week’s LTE World Summit are its Smart LTE network optimisation solution and a multi-standard base station unit that Samsung said was capable of operating LTE, WCDMA, WiMAX, GSM and CDMA on a single platform.

While Samsung’s involvement in the network infrastructure space may not be as well known as that of some of the players it is seeking to unseat, the firm said it has so far won seven commercial LTE contracts and partnered with 30 operators. It also said that it owns 25 per cent of all LTE IPR related to OFDMA technology.

Samsung has a steep climb ahead of it in looking to win share in the European infrastructure market, although it will arguably be the only infrastructure vendor with a successful high end device portfolio to complement its network play. Recently, when asked Arun Bhikshesvaran, VP, strategy and market development for Ericsson North America, what kind of companies he expected to threaten Ericsson’s leadership, he said that any firm with a true end to end offering would give the Swedish player pause for thought.

“The kind of company that I would worry about is the kind of company that can pull together a fantastic story that connects everything from user experience, though the devices, all the way to the core of the network,” Bhikshesvaran said.

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