Indian telcos in talks with Samsung for 5G amidst Huawei’s growing troubles
Huawei is a market leader in the global telecom infrastructure market with close to 30% revenue share. It is also the second largest vendor in the worldwide smartphone market, with an ambitious goal to overtake Samsung by the end of this year. So, when the Chinese company started facing backlash from the US government and its allies over national security, many analysts believed Samsung would gain from this. Fortunately for Samsung, that’s precisely the direction the Indian telecom market seems to be heading.
According to a report in The Economic Times, India’s top two telcos, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, have initiated exploratory talks with Samsung for their respective 4G and upcoming 5G networks amidst uncertainty over Huawei’s future in the subcontinent. Both these telecom companies source their equipment from multiple vendors, but they are reportedly looking to cut down their reliance on Ericsson and Nokia as there could be possible supply issues if Huawei is banned in the country.
Samsung already has a strong relationship with Jio
Though Huawei is a vendor to both Vodafone Idea and Airtel, the former has relied more on the Chinese company in recent times. Currently, Samsung supplies telecom equipment only to Reliance Jio, the country’s third largest and fastest-growing telecom operator. The Korean company is already poised to benefit from its strong relationship with Jio when 5G deployment kickstarts in the country. If the uncertainty over Huawei’s future continues to linger in the market, other operators may also lean heavily towards Samsung.
5G in India is still a few years away as the government is yet to auction the spectrum. The Department of Telecommunications is reportedly divided over whether Huawei should be allowed to be part of 5G trials. Given how fragile and complicated Indo-China ties are, it is doubtful the Indian government will be as harsh as the US on Huawei, but the uncertainty seems to be enough to push many telcos towards Samsung.