NTT invests $600m in NEC to boost 5G market share

NTT invests $600m in NEC to boost 5G market share

26 June 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Japanese equipment maker NEC is aiming to boost its presence in the 5G market with the aid of a US$600 million investment from Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT).

The money will give NTT – the Japanese telecoms incumbent which also operates worldwide internet networks under the same brand – a 5% stake in NEC.

The investment is just the latest example of a worldwide push from a number of countries to develop alternative 5G suppliers to compete with Ericsson of Sweden, Nokia of Finland and particularly Huawei of Japan.

Huawei has come under increasing pressure thanks to its perceived links with the Chinese state, reports that Huawei consistently denies. US and Australian telcos are banned from buying Huawei kit, while operators in other countries face restrictions.

According to Japanese media reports Takashi Niino (pictured), CEO of NEC, the company wants to achieve a 20% share of the radio access network (RAN) – base stations – to 20% by 2030. By then the industry will be well into the 6G era.

Other countries, including the UK, are setting their sights on developing or reviving their local telecoms manufacturing industry so that they can play a part in the development of 6G.

NTT and NEC will also work on all-optical networks, using optical switching techniques – called photonics – said the companies.