Samsung’s 5G business could benefit from Huawei’s troubles

Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone and semiconductor maker, but it’s not the same when it comes to networking. Huawei is the leader in this market segment. Samsung is, in fact, placed fifth, behind Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, and Nokia in terms of 4G network equipment market share.

The company wants to improve in this standing with 5G and has already announced the plans to invest $22 billion in 5G and other next-gen technologies. And the growing security concerns surrounding Huawei may also come to Samsung’s aide.

Trouble for Huawei spells opportunity for Samsung

Huawei’s market position is under threat amid concerns that its products may allow the Chinese government to carry out espionage activities, a charge that Huawei vehemently denies. A number of countries are blocking Huawei products nonetheless. This may help Samsung challenge the Chinese behemoth in the 5G market.

“Strategically these concerns help us grab more market share,” said S. Abraham Kim, a vice president at Samsung’s mobile division, speaking at a conference in Seoul. Samsung is already ahead on 5G smartphone technology and would be looking to build on that. “Huawei has held dominance in the network market since the fourth-generation LTE era, but we’re ahead on 5G technology that goes into smartphones,” Kim said. However, there still remain technical challenges for the company.

5G signals could get disrupted depending on how the phone is held. Mitigating that would require cramming more antenna modules inside the already limited space of a smartphone alongside a large battery. Kim said that Samsung is studying how a device’s internals can be split into two layers while keeping overall thickness to a minimum.

Heat dissipation is another challenge with the 5G devices. The 5G technology transmits a lot of data and also consumes more power, potentially increasing the phone’s temperature. Kim says the company is working on to cap the temperature at just over 40 degrees Celsius.

Samsung is planning to launch a 5G-capable Galaxy S10 early next year. The company has high hopes on the S10 range, along with the foldable phone, to revive its declining smartphone sales.

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