Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?

Light Reading is hearing from industry sources that Samsung is considering selling its wireless networking business.

Samsung Corp. is probably best known as a maker of smartphones and tablets, but the giant conglomerate also has a Networks unit, and its customers include SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD). Samsung is now said to be considering strategic options for the unit, which could mean a sell-off to one of its rivals in the basestation business. (See Samsung Beats Rivals to SK Telecom NFV Deal, Sprint Taps Samsung for More LTE Small Cells, Verizon & Partners to Field Test 5G in 2016 and Vodafone Ups 'Project Spring' Capex to $11B+.)

A senior mobile industry executive, talking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that there is talk in the market that Samsung is looking to offload its wireless business and that this would not come as a surprise given the change in the competitive landscape and Samsung's financial challenges.

Samsung does not break out its network unit's revenue in its financial reports. In the second quarter of 2015, however, the firm did indicate that it was seeing a lack of investment in LTE upgrades from its customers. The unit also appears to have struggled to add new customers in 2015.

Against that background, the entire wireless networking business is consolidating, with Nokia buying Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), and Ericsson partnering with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Huawei, meanwhile, continues to grow strongly and pressure rivals on network equipment pricing. (See Huawei's H1 Sales Grow 30% to $28.3B, 'Ciscosson' Aims for Future-Proof Partnership and Eurobites: Nokia Enters 'Final Phase' of Alcatel-Lucent Acquisition.)

One of these rivals, however, is also the most likely purchaser of Samsung Networks. Companies that might be interested in buying could include Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Networks , Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. or ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763).

Buying Samsung Networks would give one of these players a much stronger presence in Samsung's home market, South Korea, which is among the nations with the most advanced wireless networks in the world. (See SK Telecom, Samsung Turn on Tri-Band LTE-A.)

For more on 5G, visit the dedicated 5G section here on Light Reading.

Another future benefit is that Samsung is one of the key networking players developing next-generation 5G wireless technology. The company has a 28GHz network that it has used for indoor and outdoor testing. (See Samsung: Taste the 5G Rainbow! and Getting Massive at DoCoMo's 5G Lab.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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thebulk 11/25/2015 | 8:43:05 PM
Re: South Korea presence Right, it was far more interesting before I knew the truth. lol

MordyK 11/25/2015 | 12:34:06 PM
Re: South Korea presence These guessing games are always fun :)
thebulk 11/25/2015 | 11:45:37 AM
Re: South Korea presence @TV Monitor, 

Thanks for the link, very useful
TV Monitor 11/25/2015 | 11:41:53 AM
Re: South Korea presence http://www.androidheadlines.com/2015/11/samsung-denies-plans-exit-network-business.html

Samsung Denies Plans To Exit Network Business

Recent rumors had suggested that Samsung is looking to exit its network business. The South Korean tech company however, has now come out and denied in no uncertain terms that it ever considered selling off its network business. Through a post on its official website, the company has strongly denied the rumors, saying, it has no such intentions whatsoever. According to the post, "Some news media have contended that Samsung Electronics is considering to sell its network business, which manufactures mobile telecommunication systems. However, Samsung Electronics has no intention to pull out from its network business". The company goes on to further contend that it has made huge investments in the sector over the past few years, which has resulted in innovation and advancement of next-generation network technology.

Dan Jones can mark whoever his source was on this what in Samsung's own word a "garbage rumor" as an unreliable and untrustworthy source. A lesson learned the hard way.
thebulk 11/25/2015 | 10:58:01 AM
Re: South Korea presence @TV Monitor, well, if that is in fact the case then case closed. 
thebulk 11/25/2015 | 10:55:14 AM
Re: South Korea presence @MordyK, yes, an interesting situation. But I think doubtfull
melao2 11/25/2015 | 6:47:37 AM
Re: South Korea presence Can you share the link about the goverment posting?
TV Monitor 11/25/2015 | 4:23:14 AM
Re: South Korea presence Dan Jones

Oh, Samsung already officially denied Dan Jones' claim. Samsung's network division is not for sale.

They stated they would ask Lightreading to correct this incorrect report.

Case closed. I told you.
TV Monitor 11/25/2015 | 12:31:32 AM
Re: Possibility? GeneralM58106

"Pyengchang Olympic for 5G demo will be just as demo purpose"

A demo involves a fully operational 28 Ghz network and some thousands of specially prepared 5G phones to be loaned out to visiting foreign press to play with at Pyeongchang. In other word, this better work right in 2018 or somebody's heads are gonna roll.

"1st WCDMA commerical launch title. after that, this system was being idel until iPhone launch which is happned 2009, iPhone3GS."

Actually no, WCDMA was being heavily used by feature phones from 2003 and onward.

" I don't know exaclty of how Governemnt technology Samsung"

Samsung 5G's using an electronically steered phased array antenna developed by ETRI, a government research lab. Technically, this should really be called Samsung/ETRI 5G.

"Government approval is highly depending on Samsung commitment to sell"

To domestic firms only.

" Samsung have dominate of LTE patent and see what happenedspent 5 year?"

Samsung is the only profitable Android phone vendor because it is not weighted down by the $100 per phone royalty that weigh on other phone vendor's profitabillity. Without those patents, Samsung has to pay same royalty as everyone else and the profitability is gone.

"Moreover, if 28Ghz mmWave technology will be selected for 5G, then it will be stay as FRAND not samsung properity otherwise, it will not be used as standard."

Samsung's 5G patent position will be stronger than in the LTE era. Furthermore, Samsung gets a massive head start over all its rivals in both base stations and phones because this is their technology, even if the patents are licensed out as FRAND, and this head start advantage will last through for the majority of 5G era.

"To conclusion, it is quite simple and Samsung's decision. and I would bet Samsung to sell."

It is not Samsung's decision because of

1. Proprietary government technology that is forbidden to be transferred to a non-Korean entity.
2. Samsung's status as the PS-LTE equipment vendor. The Korean government cannot allow a foreign-owned firm to supply them with equipment for a critical national security network.
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