New research from Dell'Oro Group indicates that Huawei's networking business remains almost completely unaffected by the ongoing political noise surrounding the company. Specifically, the firm found that Huawei's market share grew from 27.7% in 2018 to 28.1% in the first half of 2019.
And when looking at Q2 2019 alone, Huawei's market share improved to 29%.
The figures put Huawei at the top of the heap in terms of global telecom equipment vendors. Nokia clocked in second with 15.7% share in the first half of 2019, according to Dell'Oro, while Ericsson was third with 13.1% share.
Dell'Oro's market share rankings cover the entire telecom equipment industry and are inclusive of everything from Mobile Radio Access Network (RAN) to optical transport to routers to switches to packet cores and microwave transmission and mobile backhaul.
Huawei's ability to grow its share through 2019 is noteworthy considering the Chinese behemoth sits in the eye of the trade war hurricane between the US and China, a battle that has global implications. In one of the most recent skirmishes between the two countries, President Trump banned some US companies from doing business with Huawei on national security grounds, though it's also viewed primarily as a negotiating tactic.
However, the ban may initially affect only Huawei's smartphone business, which moves at a brisk pace and relies in part on components from US suppliers. The company's networking business -- which stretches from cellular basestations to switches to wires -- may be more insulated from the effects of the ban, given that sales cycles among global telecom service providers are much longer when compared with smartphone shoppers.
Further, Huawei's networking equipment has long been implicitly verboten among major US telecom service providers, so the Chinese supplier has little ground to lose in that market.
Interestingly, Dell'Oro reported that the global telecom equipment market shifted into a growth phase in the third quarter of 2018 after three years of decline. "As a result, the market's growth for the trailing four-quarter period ending 2Q 2019 was up significantly from a bottom reached in 2017. Most of the leading vendors gained revenue during this period with the highest percentage increases obtained by Samsung, ZTE and Ciena," the firm wrote.