Samsung beats Huawei to Spark’s 5G radio contract in New Zealand

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Samsung has won a deal to supply 5G radio equipment to Spark, the former Telecom New Zealand, a move that is seen as meaning Huawei is less likely to win any of the business.

Spark put Huawei, Nokia and Samsung on its preferred supplier list for 5G last year, but Huawei appears to have missed out on real orders – especially as the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) told the company in November that it could not use the Chinese vendor.

Spark uses Cisco and Ericsson for the network core, but this latest announcement concerns the radio access network (RAN), for which Samsung will supply its 5G New Radio (NR) solutions, including Massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) radios.

Rajesh Singh, Spark’s general manager of value management, said: “One of the main reasons we selected Samsung was their 5G NR solutions which deliver enhanced network capability, high quality connections, and state-of-the-art technology.”

Spark has switched its first 5G services in September 2019, using Nokia NR equipment in the RAN. It began with what it called “a limited number of business and consumer customers”. It appears that Nokia and Samsung will both supply RANs for Spark’s 5G operation.

WooJune Kim, head of global sales and marketing at Samsung’s networks business, said: “We are looking forward to helping Spark unlock the future of mobile connectivity, and are ready to support the new level of 5G experiences they will deliver to their customers with our next generation network solution.”

South Korean company Samsung is increasingly being touted as a rival to Huawei for 5G networks business, especially in the RAN. It has supplied its Massive MIMO solution for nationwide rollouts by all three mobile operators in South Korea, and KDDI of Japan will be launching its 5G using Samsung shortly.