Ericsson rules the LTE roost, but TD-LTE will boost rivals

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) sits atop the LTE infrastructure marketplace, but TD-LTE rollouts this year will benefit rivals Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU), Huawei and ZTE, according to a fresh report.

Technology Business Research (TBR) said Ericsson's dominance is exemplified by the fact that it is providing LTE equipment for five of the seven Tier 1 operators in North America: Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), T-Mobile USA and Canada's Rogers. Further, Ericsson is deploying LTE for Softbank in Japan and all three Tier 1 operators in South Korea: LG U+, SK Telecom and KT.

"These operators were among the first adopters of LTE technology, and Ericsson's key position within these accounts allowed the company to pull far ahead of competitors in LTE revenue," said TBR. The firm forecasts Ericsson will remain the LTE market-share leader this year.

Nokia Siemens Networks placed second in LTE market share during 2012 and was aided in holding its position by the fact that third-place rival Huwei has been largely prohibited from doing business in the United States due to security concerns. NSN, however, faces an uncertain future regarding LTE as operator customers in two of its focus markets--Japan and South Korea--are wrapping up their LTE network deployments, shifting focus from coverage to capacity enhancement.

TBR suggests NSN will need to increase its focus on the U.S. market, leveraging its contracts with T-Mobile USA and U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) to boost LTE revenue. "Latin America will also contribute, as LTE rollouts are underway in Brazil, where NSN holds contracts with America Movil's Claro brand, TIM and Oi," said TBR.

Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE are expected to gain LTE market share this year as China Mobile deploys an expected 200,000 TD-LTE base stations. "These three vendors are likely to land the highest shares of the contract," said TBR, adding China Mobile will deploy an additional 150,000 TD-LTE base stations in 2014.

The research firm predicts Huawei and ZTE will also benefit from select LTE rollouts in Europe during 2013, where their aggressive pricing will win them business.

For more:
- see this TBR release

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