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Samsung enters Europe with Vodafone 5G network deal in Britain

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SEOUL, June 14 (Reuters) - British telecoms group Vodafone (VOD.L) has chosen Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) to supply its 5G network equipment in Britain, the pair said on Monday, a breakthrough for the South Korean company in Europe’s telecoms gear market.

European mobile operators are increasingly considering Samsung to replace China's Huawei (HWT.UL) as a supplier, with executives from Spain's Telefonica (TEF.MC) and France's Orange (ORAN.PA) previously telling Reuters they had held talks with the firm. read more

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Britain has already ordered all Huawei equipment to be removed from its 5G network by the end of 2027, echoing a U.S. campaign against Huawei, citing national security risks.

Samsung is banking on Europe to maintain growth in its network equipment business, a senior executive told Reuters earlier this month, as 5G rollouts widen. read more

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The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office building in Seoul, South Korea January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

"It still has a long way to go to catch Ericsson and Nokia, but Samsung has a well-rounded 5G RAN portfolio across mobile broadband, fixed wireless access and private 5G networks, so it should be seen as a genuine contender," said CCS Insight analyst Richard Webb.

The European telecoms equipment market is dominated by Nokia (NOKIA.HE), Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and Huawei, but Samsung has entered the picture after it unexpectedly landed a $6 billion deal with U.S. giant Verizon in September.

Several telecom operators are also warming to a new approach to wireless network architecture called Open RAN, which allows mobile operators to mix and match equipment from various suppliers, potentially improving flexibility and reducing costs.

While companies such as Japan’s Rakuten (4755.T) and Dish Network (DISH.O) have been at the forefront of using open networks, older telecom firms like Telefonica and Vodafone are now also emerging as proponents of the new technology.

Reporting by Joyce Lee and Supantha Mukherjee, editing by Louise Heavens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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