April 12, 2021

If you did not see the news, on April 8, 2021, Epic, a newly rebranded Vodafone property in Malta, selected Ericsson to modernize its Huawei-based network and upgrade it with fresh 5G gears. This is an important milestone because this deal marks Ericsson’s 135th 5G contract, including 77 that are officially announced, and 83 live 5G networks in 41 countries.

As LightCounting has been closely tracking Huawei’s global RAN footprint, we have reported RAN market share dynamics every quarter and showed Ericsson’s ascension in Europe, taking back some of its existing footprints that Huawei, and to some extent ZTE, won over the past 10 years of the 4G cycle. In our 4Q20 Wireless Infrastructure Report published February 25, we identified 40 communications service providers (CSPs) (see also March 31 article “Huawei’s grip on China market softens blow of US crackdown” in Nikkei Asia) that did not select Huawei for their 5G rollouts; this total includes a mix of Deutsche Telekom’s, Orange’s and Vodafone’s properties and a few Tier 2 and 3 CSPs. From 2H19 to 2020, a flurry of these CSPs started to select 5G vendors, Nokia won a few but Ericsson has bagged the most so far.

As a result of a combination of an unabated 5G vendor selection process that excluded Huawei and an acceleration of 5G rollouts in 2H20, Ericsson dethroned Huawei, which fell from first to third place for revenue market share. Figure 1 illustrates Huawei’s dramatic reversal of fortune.

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