Ericsson's lead in the U.S. market grows

Ericsson sign (FW)
Ericsson is the No. 1 vendor in the RAN equipment market in North America. (Monica Alleven/Fierce Wireless)

According to new figures from Dell’Oro Group, Ericsson is increasing its lead over Nokia in the U.S. wireless equipment market. The research firm’s figures cover the market for Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment.  

Nokia was the leading North American RAN vendor in 2016, the firm said, but the company lost that position to Ericsson during the course of last year. Further, Dell’Oro said that Ericsson’s North American RAN lead widened by about 3 percentage points during the first six months of 2018 relatively to the full year 2017. 

“Our estimates show that even though Ericsson and Nokia continued to dominate the North American market in 1H18, the competitive dynamics remain fierce, especially with Samsung’s momentum improving,” wrote Dell’Oro analyst Stefan Pongratz.  

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Importantly, the firm said that the four leading equipment vendors in the North American market are:  

1. Ericsson 

2. Nokia 

3. Samsung 

4. Huawei  

Globally, though, Huawei remains the leading vendor, followed by Ericsson, Nokia and then Samsung. The firm this week noted that ZTE lost its fourth-place position to Samsung in the global RAN market. 

RELATED: Ericsson widens lead over Nokia in U.S. equipment market: analysts 

Ericcson's growth in the North American market comes as it continues to invest in the region. Ericsson recently announced it will expand its R&D and manufacturing efforts in the United States ahead of the launch of 5G services here. However, details of Ericsson’s exact manufacturing plans remain somewhat fuzzy: The company will begin manufacturing 5G products including 5G radios in the United States starting later this year, initially through production partner Jabil, and the first products from that effort will be available before 2019. The plant will be in St. Petersburg, Florida, but Ericsson did not disclose the number of workers who would be involved in the effort.  

Ericsson’s momentum in the North American market also comes amid troubles at Nokia. Nokia last month admitted that the company lost a "small number" of Verizon's markets, but the company argued that it is not losing share to rivals in the region.  

In response to Dell’Oro's recent numbers on the first half of this year, Nokia pointed out that it recently inked a massive $3.5 billion deal with T-Mobile for 5G equipment, and also recently completed a mobile 5G testing call with Verizon.  

As Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung all battle for share in the North American market, and globally, Dell’Oro is predicting major growth in the world’s RAN sector. The firm earlier this year published its forecast for the RAN market that predicts a positive five-year compound annual growth rate—the first time the firm has predicted a rise in that metric in the past seven years.