5G radio contract in China: Ericsson pain is Nokia gain

5G radio contract in China: Ericsson pain is Nokia gain

China Mobile announced vendor awards for its latest round of 5G contracts, with Ericsson losing ground against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions and Nokia notably scoring a 5G RAN win in China.

Ericsson was awarded just 2% of the available base station work for China Mobile’s 700 MHz 5G rollout. Nokia, which didn't secure any 5G radio contracts in China last year, got a 10% share in one of the three contracts.

According to newspaper reports, Ericsson said this is likely a consequence of Sweden banning Chinese suppliers Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks.

"Following a review of bids in the CP for 700MHz radio round of China’s 5G network development, Ericsson has been awarded 2% market share. In line with earlier market guidance to investors, this is materially lower than the market share previously awarded to the company in the 2.6GHz CP2 (11%)," said a press release from the Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company.

China Mobile is the first operator to award under the latest round of CP’s for 5G radio. Given the context and based on the bidding rules, should Ericsson be awarded the business in China Unicom and China Telecom we believe it would be in a similar range as with the China Mobile award.

Chinese vendor Huawei was the biggest winner for all three tenders, awarded roughly 60% in each. ZTE, also a Chinese vendor, secured significant portions of the work, with awards across the three ranging from almost 29% to around 33%.

Nokia, which didn't secure any 5G radio contracts in China last year, got a 10% share in one of the three contracts. Nokia has been working to execute a turnaround in its mobile networks business.

China's other two largest telecom operators - China Telecom and China Unicom - will soon announce winners of the second phase of the 5G contracts.