Although Samsung Electronics has become synonymous with Korean technology, in the battle for 5G wireless technology, it may face Huawei’s challenges in its backyard. According to Bloomberg, South Korea’s three national mobile operators are preparing to purchase Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, and the initial contract value may reach 10 trillion won ($9 billion).
Because South Korea wants to be the first country to deploy 5G networks, suppliers around the world want to sell switches, base stations and other devices there. Although Samsung is known for its smartphones and memory chips, its network equipment may be detrimental to the company if it is excluded from the most advanced wireless network in the country.
‘Huawei has been aggressive and started development earlier than others,’ Park Jin-hyo, executive vice president of SK Telecom Co., said in an interview. ‘We are looking with an open stance and no bias whatsoever.’
At the same time, Park Jin-hyo said the South Korean largest operator would consider other factors such as technology and cost. However, if they fail to meet international security standards, they will not consider using Huawei equipment.
SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus already have more than 56 million subscribers, exceeding the country’s total population of 51 million. After they decided to pay 3.6 trillion won ($3.2 billion) last month to purchase a 5G spectrum, the cost became an important consideration when purchasing equipment.
LG Uplus expressed its intention to choose Huawei, while Sk Telecom and KT are looking towards Huawei, Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson. The Korean Minister of Science and Technology plans to meet with the three major operators this week to discuss the roadmap for the launch of 5G – Huawei will almost certainly attend the conference.
‘Huawei’s appeal is its price competitiveness,” said Kim Hyun-yong, an analyst at Ebest Investment & Securities Co. “And it has a lead with its 5G devices developed well enough to be put to work immediately.’ In addition to its success in the network equipment market, Huawei is still aggressively entering the field of consumer devices. The company is currently the world’s third-largest smartphone maker after Samsung and Apple. Although Samsung still holds a leading position, the gap with Huawei is narrowing.