Telecom industry’s first 5G core competitive analysis published by GlobalData reveals it is a close race

The telecommunications industry’s first Competitive Landscape Assessment of 5G Mobile Core (5GC) infrastructure solutions space has been researched and published by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘5G Mobile Core: Competitive Landscape Assessment’, evaluates the 5G mobile core portfolios of five key vendors: Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE. It examines the details of each portfolio in the context of key criteria important to mobile operators, including solution architecture; market momentum; standards and leadership; and support for voice and video, 5G services, migration to 5G, and webscale and automation.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Huawei earned an overall co-leadership position, with Leader rankings across all the evaluated criteria. Huawei earns especially high marks for its leading number of mobile core contracts and for its NFV OpenLab initiative
  • Ericsson earned an overall co-leadership position based in part on mobile core contracts, NSA deployments and early SA trials; plus its full stack and CI/DI model and standards leadership
  • ZTE ranked Very Strong overall, showing leadership in converged core support for LTE and 5G New Radio (NR). ZTEs’ CloudStudio delivers CI/CD, AI with automation and service assurance capabilities
  • Nokia ranked Very Strong, showing leadership in supporting operator lifecycle management through the transition to 5G, early SA trials, as well as a host of 5G migration services
  • Cisco’s portfolio was also ranked Very Strong overall, showing  leadership in early adoption of cloud-native technologies and support for multi-vendor interoperability

5G promises to radically expand the ways we communicate and use mobile networks, with support for ultra-low latency, massive scale, high reliability, and greater throughput compared to LTE. However, the 5G Mobile Core market is just entering its commercialization phase and as a result portfolios are rapidly evolving, but the stakes are high for operators.

Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst at GlobalData commented: “The gap that distinguishes leaders from the rest of the pack is very small, and the market is likely to evolve significantly over the next several years. However, operators’ 5GC decisions today will direct the next decade of global telecom investment and ultimately usher in fundamental changes to the way we live and work.

“The vendor landscape is likely to face changes as well. The first wave of 5G deployments, called ‘non-standalone 5G’ relies on existing 4G LTE infrastructure for certain functions. So in the race to win 5G deals with operators, each vendor has a strong advantage with operators that already use their 4G mobile core solutions. Standalone 5G, requires a 5G core, will give vendors – both traditional core vendors as well as upstarts such as Mavenir and Affirmed – a better chance to penetrate new operator accounts, support a broad range of deployment options and new use cases. We expect the standalone 5G Mobile Core market will start ramping up in 2020 following the latest specifications from 3GPP.”

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