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Nokia Claims WCDMA Lead

The debate about which vendor leads the 3G wideband code-division multiple access (WCDMA) equipment market reignited again this week when Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) claimed it had overtaken archrival LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY) as the number one vendor in the sector.

Speaking at Nokia’s midyear strategy update, Sari Daldauf, president of Nokia Networks, said, “We currently lead WCDMA rollout in terms of volume, with more than 20,000 base stations deployed.

“We have over 30 percent market share in WCDMA and are well on track to reach our target of 35 percent.”

Ericsson, meanwhile, claims a 40 percent share of the market and said late last year that it had deployed 10,000 base stations between March 2001 and October 2002.

Reacting to the Nokia claims, Ericsson press spokesman Michael Westmark says the company doesn't expect to release an update on their 3G market share until their next financial results presentation on July 18. “The number of shipped base stations is just one part of the story,” he says. “It could be interpreted in many ways, but obviously we’ve deployed a lot more than we announced last year.”

Scott Wickware, director of UMTS product solutions at Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), says it’s hard to assess market share at the moment, because there hasn’t been a lot of revenue recognized from WCDMA products. “Right now we see ourselves from a pure UMTS perspective sitting around 15 percent and at around 19 percent in terms of CDMA2000 and UMTS,” he told Unstrung in a phone interview.

Klaus-Dieter Kohrt, vice president for strategic product management at Siemens Mobile Networks, says that, although Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) doesn’t quote numbers in public, “I can tell you that we’re doing quite well, despite what Nokia may be saying.

“We’re participating in the build-out for all the networks that are already up and running, and we’re rolling out base stations like hot cakes to get other networks ready for launch later this year."

Market share is an important metric for the wireless infrastructure sector, even though the primary focus in financial markets right now is on the levels of profitability (or lack thereof) at vendors' infrastructure divisions.

Last week, Jarmo Leivo, director of WCDMA RAN marketing at Nokia Networks, explained that the cost evolution within the wideband CDMA sector is largely driven by volumes. “And the fact that we are rolling out in so many networks brings us to a position where we have delivered more in terms of volumes than the others. We have the chance to take advantage of volume [to improve margins].”

WCDMA is the air interface specified by the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard (UMTS) 3G standard. It can theoretically crank up cellular data transfer rates to a maximum of 2 Mbit/s [ed. note: if you're standing so close to the base-station trial site that the radiation curls the bottom of your lab coat].

— Gabriel Brown, Research Analyst, Unstrung

bsa 12/4/2012 | 11:54:48 PM
re: Nokia Claims WCDMA Lead could have been even more but Hutchison Hong Kong have decide to rip out 700 of Nokia's base stations ....
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