Ericsson and Xiaomi look to fill the Huawei void

The last couple of months have seen various moves to seemingly ban Huawei from US shores, but Xiaomi and Ericsson are two companies which are looking to capitalise on the paranoia.

Huawei is number one in the networking vendor scene, and one of the top players when it comes to smartphones worldwide, but missing out on the US market would be a huge blow. Congressman Mike Conaway is attempting to write legislation which would legally ban Huawei from government offices, while intelligence committees are still producing reports which finger Huawei as a Chinese government puppet. Considering Huawei’s influence and footprint everywhere else, this is a massive opportunity.

On the smartphone front, Xiaomi is sniffing around US shores. Having launched in Western markets over the last couple of weeks, CEO Lei Jun told the Wall Street Journal it is considering entering the space during late 2018 or early 2019. Of course any ambitious smartphone manufacturer would look at the US as a golden opportunity, especially with Huawei being roadblocked.

One question which does remain is whether the US government will look at Xiaomi in with the same suspicions it does Huawei. This could be a non-starter to be honest, but it does create an opportunity for a currently unnamed US brand to fill the budget phone void. Funny that this entire saga could stimulate the emergence of a US brand.

Looking at Ericsson, there were a couple of interesting comments which were made during its press conference on Monday which could indicate Ericsson is taking at the Huawei shaped hole. This is a bit of a conspiracy theory, but they are a bit of fun so bear with us.

During the press conference, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm commented that “not all traffic is created equal”, which was backed up by a logical argument about prioritising traffic intended for robotic surgery or emergency services, but nonetheless, it does seemingly indicate an anti-net neutrality stance. Why would this be? It seems very un-European and very unlike a vendor which try to remain as independent as possible, avoiding any interesting discussions and comments in favour of bland and shallow statements.

Here’s our theory. Huawei is effectively being prevented from working with the US telcos, Ericsson sees an opportunity and what better way to cosy up to US telco execs than indirectly indicate support for them in a highly controversial and lucrative argument. It’s not direct support, but it certainly is more of a stance than anything we’ve heard before. Who knows what Ekholm’s actual feelings are on net neutrality, but this comment might prove to be a very pragmatic one for sales over the next couple of years.

Like we said, it’s just a theory, but they are fun to think about every now and then. In any case, with Huawei struggling to make an impact on the US market, there certainly is an opportunity for another business to make a bit of cash. Who it will be remains to be seen, but under the current political climate we suspect it will be one with pretty strong ties to the US.

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