Samsung aims to get to No. 3 infrastructure spot without acquisitions

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BARCELONA, Spain--Samsung expects to achieve the No. 3 LTE infrastructure vendor position by the end of 2012 and crack the top three infrastructure vendor rankings overall by the end of 2015 through organic growth, a senior executive said.

In a roundtable with reporters here at Mobile world Congress, IP Hong, head of marketing for Samsung's telecommunications business, reiterated many points he and other Samsung executives have made in the past about the company's infrastructure ambitions. However, he said an acquisition of another vendor is not in the cards. "We are going to achieve that market position by ourselves at this point," he said.

Hong said that Samsung's ability to offer end-to-end LTE solutions--from chipsets to devices through network gear--will help set it apart from Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ:ALU), which led the worldwide market in LTE as of the third quarter of 2011, according to research firm Dell'Oro Group. Hong acknowledged that Samsung only has eight commercial LTE contracts but said the company is involved in 30 pilot networks around the world. The Samsung executive said the company will measure its position in the market both through the number of LTE base stations it deploys and how much revenue it gets from its LTE infrastructure business.

In the U.S. market, Hong said that Samsung is holding serious discussions with both Tier 1 carriers and more regional operators. last week Hong told Bloomberg that the company won contracts from one "top" U.S. carrier and another "mid"tier operator, but he did not disclose the carriers. He said an official announcement on the deals will be made in May.

Samsung's strong financial position, ability to produce base stations that provide 1.8 times the average capacity and coverage and solutions that help carriers reduce operating expenses will also help Samsung achieve its goals. However, Hong did not provide any specific market share goals in infrastructure that Samsung wants to achieve by the end of this year or by 2015.   Samsung, along with Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, won a $5 billion contract from Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) for Sprint's Network Vision network modernization plan, which is centered around multi-mode base stations that will allow Sprint to deploy LTE.

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