Samsung Network’s earnings in 2021 will likely be determined on whether it can win an order from US telco AT&T.
Despite winning a 7.9 trillion won deal with US telco Verizon last year, Samsung failed to do the same with T-Mobile.
Samsung had actively developed sample to provide to T-Mobile after its success with Verizon, a person knowledgeable on the matter said. But T-Mobile had solid trust on its traditional suppliers Ericsson and Nokia, which the Korean tech giant failed to overcome, the person said.
T-Mobile singed 5-year contracts with the European telecom equipment makers worth billions of dollars recently.
Samsung’s negotiation with AT&T has been slower than Verizon, another person familiar with the matter said. Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-yong’s personal friendship with Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg likely played a part in the pairs’ contract being signed faster, they said.
Lee had met Vestberg multiple times when the latter was working for Ericsson as CEO, from 2010 to 2016, the person said. Vestberg was named CTO of Verizon afterwards, before becoming CEO in 2018.
In the conference call for the fourth quarter, Samsung had said it expects new business opportunities from US’ C-Band auction and resumption of similar auctions in countries such as India.
US recently finished the Auction 107 for 3.7GHz to 3.9GHz spectrum, raising US$80.9 billion. The bandwidths will be allotted within the first quarter.
Samsung currently supplies 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz spectrum kits to Verizon. It will likely begin supplying 5G equipment after the auction is completed. Samsung is thought to have over 50% market share in C-Band equipment in South Korea. Korean telcos currently uses 280MHz bandwidth between 3.42GHz and 3.7GHz.
Nokia last month said it has strengthened its C-Band equipment portfolio for the US market.