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Entries in Ericsson (4)


MWC Shanghai: Spectrum pricing and the bowl of soup theory 

Last week's event sported some messaging on spectrum pricing, a burn on Marc Rubio and the bowl-of-soup theory of discount pricing

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4G contracts: China Mobile throws EU firms a bigger bone 

Huawei and ZTE have once again won the biggest share of a major Chinese telecom tender, despite being undercut by Nokia Siemens.

In what is certain to be the largest telecom tender this year, China Mobile handed out 20 billion yuan ($3.27b) in contracts to build its TD-LTE network in 100 cities.

Nokia Siemens surprised the industry when it was revealed during the tender that it had bid the lowest price - the first time a foreign vendor had done so. Despite that, it won no more business than other foreign players, and much less than the two large local firms.

With what appears to be immaculate stage management, Huawei and ZTE emerged with 26% each of the total tender, while the three foreign vendors, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens and Alcatel Shanghai Bell, were allocated 11% apiece. Small Chinese players Datang, Potevio, New Postcom and Fiberhome picked up the remainder.

Chinese telecom news site C114 noted that the 67% share won by local firms was down slightly from their 70% share of China Mobile's trial network last year.

The market share number is more than academic. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has warned he would push ahead with his subsidies case against Huawei and ZTE if European firms did not win a fair share of Chinese domestic contracts.

Chinese firms have a 25% share of the EU market, according to CICC telecom analyst Chen Haofei. The 33% of these contracts that have gone to European firms are probably enough to stave off De Gucht's attentions.

As well as the size - 207,000 base stations - this contract is strategically important as the first large-scale tender for the China Mobile's 4G network. The major winners are best-placed to pick up follow-up contracts as the network expands over the next decade or so.


China Mobile delays giant 4G tender 

China Mobile’s massive TD-LTE tender has been delayed because the operator can’t decide whether to build a new network or upgrade from 3G.

The tender, for 200,000 base stations and 100 cities, was originally planned to start in April. Estimates of its value range wildly from $6.75 billion to as much as $30 billion.

However, executives are said to be undecided whether to buid primarily as an upgrade from the existing TD-SCDMA network using F-band spectrum (1880-1920), or to roll out new base stations using the D-band (2570-2620).

It is more than an arcane technical issue. An upgrade would favour the incumbent TD-SCDMA vendors – Huawei, ZTE and small state-owned player Datang Mobile. A new build would put all vendors on a level playing field.

According to 21st Century Business Herald (posted here on Sina Tech), the tender was supposed to have been issued in April, but will probably not be called until June.

Ericsson China executive vice-president Eric Feng told a briefing in Guangzhou yesterday China Mobile hadn’t yet issued tender documents because executives “still haven’t reached final consensus.”

So far China Mobile has rolled out limited scale TD-LTE trial networks in 13 cities, with contracts allocated among five vendors. The 2013 network is its major commercial-scale buildout ahead of formal launch, which is expected to be in the second half of the year.

Feng told journalists that the trials showed that an upgrade from 3G would suffer from interference and limited network functionality.

His recommendation was pretty much to script. Given these issues, and China Mobile’s tight timetable, Ericsson believed that the “new build is the best option,” Feng said. 


China's real telecom subsidies 

Investors and customers have tipped billions into an indigenous innovation icon

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