Samsung and Huawei lead telecoms innovation top 10

18 May 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Samsung and Huawei are the most innovative companies in the telecommunications industry, according to a global survey of patents and scientific reports.

The report, by Thomson Reuters, says that innovations in mobile telephony dominated in 2015 with 26% of the share.

“The last year has been marked by a series of epic breakthroughs: the first autonomous cars tested on public highways, the longest-ever human space mission, the first biosimilar drug approval – all of these were made possible by disrupting conventional boundaries and testing the limits of human creativity,” said Vin Caraher, president of intellectual property and science at Thomson Reuters.

“By consistently benchmarking innovation with concrete metrics on global patent and scientific literature production, we’re able to get a clear outlook on future growth areas.”

The survey found that mobile’s share of telecoms patents declined by 4% in the year. Telemetry and telecontrol grew 38% in the year, the biggest growth.

The survey lists three Chinese companies in the top 10, including the country’s State Grid Corporation – the world’s largest power company – along with Huawei at number two and ZTE at number five.

The two Korean companies are Samsung and LG, at number three. There are three Japanese companies, Sony, NTT and Fujitsu. Qualcomm is the sole US representative in the top 10, and Ericsson the only one from Europe.

Worldwide patent volume grew at an annualised rate of 13.7% in 2015, driving the overall growth rate for patents to over 100% since the study was launched in 2009. The total volume of new scientific research has declined 19% over the last year and 27% since 2009.

The 2015 top 10 global innovators in the telecommunications industry are:
  • 1 Samsung
  • 2 Huawei
  • 3 LG
  • 4 State Grid Corp of China
  • 5 ZTE 
  • 6 Qualcomm
  • 7 Ericsson
  • 8 Sony
  • 9 NTT
  • 10 Fujitsu

The Telecoms Innovation Award, by Capacity's sister title, Global Telecoms Business, will be presented in London next week: