Infonetics: Rising LTE network sales buoy Nokia Siemens

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Worldwide deployment of LTE is not only helping keep the mobile infrastructure market afloat, it's giving a huge boost to Nokia Siemens Networks, according to fresh research from Infonetics.

Click here for more details from Infonetics' report.

The third quarter of 2012 saw a 4 percent fall in combined sales for 2G, 3G, LTE and WiMAX network equipment from the same period a year earlier, and sales were down 4.7 percent from 2012's second quarter, the firm said. Nonetheless, LTE infrastructure sales leaped 131 percent over the year-ago third quarter and rose 30 percent during 2012's third quarter, driven by robust sales in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. However, the BRIC countries--Brazil, Russia, India and China--showed considerably weaker LTE activity.

"LTE was indeed the lone bright spot this quarter, as the rest of the mobile infrastructure market dragged the overall market down, led by a sharp drop in CDMA gear," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics.

The firm expects purchases of worldwide 2G, 3G and LTE network gear will be stronger in 2013. "China Mobile alone has a nationwide TD-LTE rollout plan of 100,000 eNodeBs," said Teral.

Infonetics forecasts LTE subscribers will grow nearly five-fold to surpass 51 million worldwide by year's end. CDMA2000, meanwhile, is approaching the end of its lifecycle, with infrastructure sales down 46 percent year over year, said the firm. It added the WiMAX ecosystem continues shrinking as vendors shift their focus to LTE.

The expanding market for LTE network gear is boosting prospects for Nokia Siemens, which has made mobile broadband one of its priority businesses. The vendor, which this week said it will sell its optical networks business to Marlin Equity Partners and its billing support systems (BSS) unit to Redknee, rose from fourth place to second place in the LTE equipment market during the third quarter of 2012, after more than doubling its LTE revenue during the three-month period. Nokia Siemens passed Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei in the quarterly sales ranking and significantly closed the gap with market leader Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), said Infonetics.

Last month, research firm Dell'Oro said Nokia Siemens' overall market share grew from 18 percent to 20 percent in the third quarter. Market leader Ericsson slipped from 35.5 percent to 34 percent while No. 2 Huawei maintained its market share at 22 percent, according to Dell'Oro. Dell'Oro estimated that Nokia Siemens overtook Alcatel-Lucent (NASDAQ: ALU) as the No. 2 LTE vendor in the world by revenue in the third quarter, a reversal from the second quarter when Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent led the LTE market.

For more:
- see this Infonetics release

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