Nokia Siemens prospered in the third quarter by becoming the world’s second largest supplier of LTE radio access network (RAN) kit by revenue, however the growth was achieved in a market that continues to shrink overall.
Research firm Dell’Oro Group notes that NSN overtook Alcatel-Lucent in terms of LTE RAN revenues during the quarter. The vendor ended the period with 70 commercial LTE contracts, giving it a 21% share of total revenues – some four times higher than in 3Q11.
Ericsson remained the dominant vendor in the LTE market during 3Q12, while Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent shared third spot with an estimated 15% share apiece.
NSN’s strongest market was Asia Pacific, which overtook North America as the world’s leading LTE region in the recent quarter by generating 41% of global LTE RAN revenues.
While Barry French, the vendor’s head of marketing and corporate affairs, notes the firm has placed LTE “at the heart of the stronger, more profitable company that we are building,” Dell’Oro’s report also shows the growth came amid the fourth straight quarter of double digit declines in overall RAN sales.
Dell’Oro claims the total RAN market fell 11% year-on-year during the third quarter, due to falling sales of 2G and 3G kit, lower average selling prices, a rise in network modernization projects, and general economic uncertainty.
Analyst Stefan Pongratz says LTE is a bright spot within the declining market, as operators begin to focus on “network coverage, performance and quality,” in a bid to differentiate their networks. “They know that once they fall behind on LTE coverage/performance, it will become increasingly challenging to generate net adds,” he adds.