PARTNER FEATURE: GlobalData, a world-renowned data analytics and consulting company for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, has published the latest analysis report on 5G competitiveness for the second half of 2019. The report, 5G RAN: Competitive Landscape Assessment, evaluates the 5G radio access network (RAN) product portfolios of the world’s leading equipment vendors. According to the assessment, Huawei gained the top position in H2 2019 and remained the clear leader across the entire 5G RAN portfolio.

The criteria categories employed in the 5G RAN competitive assessment include baseband unit (BBU) capacity, radio unit (RU) portfolio, installation ease, and technology evolution.

Data source: 5G RAN: Competitive Landscape Assessment by GlobalData

The assessment concluded that Huawei’s 5G RAN portfolio held the strongest overall leadership position, achieving a rating of Leader across all four evaluated criteria.

Huawei boasts the industry’s most complete 5G RU product portfolio. A total of 94 RU products are supported, including 22 Massive MIMO models, 32 integrated antenna models, and 14 dual-band models (referring to these capable of operating on two bands). Huawei holds the top position in all four dimensions. In addition, Huawei’s 5G RAN RU products support 35 NR bands, the industry’s most powerful support capabilities, enabling operators to better serve their subscribers.

Huawei boasts the industry’s most streamlined and flexible 5G RAN deployment. Apart from clear leadership across traditional installation criteria (such as product weight and dimensions), Huawei also delivers multiple novel solutions to ensure quick, simplified 5G deployments. One example is Super BladeSite, which solves 5G deployment challenges in cases where antenna space is extremely limited, while also reducing the dependence of site devices on equipment rooms and air conditioning facilities. In addition, Huawei’s CloudAIR and SuperBand solutions allow operators to improve spectral efficiency by sharing spectrum between 4G and 5G.

Huawei delivers the industry’s most powerful BBU capabilities. Huawei’s BBU products supports 36 cells with a bandwidth of 100 MHz on the sub-6 GHz and 36 cells with a bandwidth of 400 MHz on the mmWave band. Such high BBU capacity puts global operators in very strong position to deal with increasingly demanding traffic growth well into the future.

According to GlobalData, in ease-of-installation terms, though Ericsson’s BBU series share the top position with Huawei’s products, they do not support as much per unit capacity, and its RU portfolio is not as broad as those of its peers, only earning a rating of Strong in the related portfolio category. Both Nokia and Huawei are ranked first in the RU product portfolio category, however Nokia does not offer BBU items that support the same level of per unit capacity and faces challenges associated with slow 5G commercial deployment and project delivery delays in some cases. The breadth of Samsung’s 5G RU product portfolio falls on the low end in terms of band support capability, and this vendor has not been as active as its peers in promoting solutions to easing deployments. Meanwhile, ZTE also fails to offer as many Massive MIMO products and the breadth of its RU products falls on the low end in terms of band support capability, earning only a Strong rating.

Huawei holds the top position overall, achieving a rating of Leader, while the other four vendors received a Very Strong rating for their 5G RAN portfolio.

The assessment serves as both a guide for mobile operators when selecting 5G RAN suppliers and a tool for vendors to assess their own competitiveness over rivals.

The assessment also examines trends and drivers of 5G RAN markets. The constantly increasing data speed demanded by mobile users is a major driver for telecom operators to improve service experiences and avoid user churn. The extraordinary network capabilities of 5G will become an essential foundation for promoting digital transformation across vertical industries, which will in return drive the further commercial adoption of 5G networks. Fixed wireless broadband in homes and enterprises will also become typical use cases as we advance further into the 5G era.