Top 5G companies ranked on the basis of their B2B relationships

  • Huawei emerged as the top-scoring company on the back of equally innovative and strong customer relationships and partnerships. Despite US sanctions slowing down its topline, the Chinese vendor is continuing to invest in R&D to maintain 5G leadership. Huawei signed an MoU with TIM Brasil to realize a smart city through 5G networks, and MTN Zambia began a 5G pilot project in partnership with it earlier in 2022.
  • Cellwize’s recent acquisition by Qualcomm in June 2022 shouldn’t come as a surprise as it was strategically notching up relationships and garnering interest from industry leaders. The investors in Cellwize’s 2020 funding round included Intel Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Verizon Ventures, and Samsung Next.
  • US mobile telecommunications giant Verizon is a key connecting company in the 5G ecosystem. A vast majority of 5G players, including Celona and Federated Wireless, have strengthened ties with Verizon over the past 5 years.
  • UfiSpace can leverage its existing relationship with AT&T, to expand its network and continue 5G growth.

5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technology, is expected to soon become the primary cellular network with forecasts suggesting that global 5G subscriptions will account for 48% of overall mobile subscriptions by the end of 2027. To better understand how companies are forming partnerships and getting customers on board, Centrly assessed a shortlist of 8 players from a collection of companies contributing to the 5G space. The shortlist included Huawei, Qualcomm, Federated Wireless, Cellwize, Cradlepoint, Celona, UfiSpace, and Simnovus.

Scroll down to the section titled “Scoring approach” for a step-by-step breakdown of the methodology.

Huawei and Qualcomm emerge as frontrunners in the ecosystem

Close on the heels of Huawei with a total score of 5.5 is Qualcomm. It recently completed the acquisition of Cellwize which is also a notable company to emerge from the Centrly 5G collection:

  • Cellwize strategically forged partnerships with the likes of Verizon 5G Labs and Intel from 2020 to 2022.
  • Intel Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Verizon Ventures, and Samsung Next invested $32M in its Series B funding round in 2020.
  • Finally, in 2022, Qualcomm snapped up Cellwize to accelerate 5G adoption.

The leading companies in 5G are closely knit

The collection companies are all closely intertwined in the 5G ecosystem as shown by the relationships with Verizon cropping up as a common link. Despite the fierce competition in 5G, companies realize that synergies through partnerships and customer relationships are the way forward as the technology gets rolled out across the globe.

A closer look into Verizon’s network reveals that the American wireless network operator has teamed up on multiple occasions with Centrly’s 5G collection shortlist company, Qualcomm, and Ericsson to eclipse records in 5G:

  • In 2017, the 3 companies reached an industry-first with commercial silicon and network infrastructure with 1.07 Gbps (gigabits per second) download speeds. This was a major milestone on the road to 5G.
  • The companies continued to drive 5G technology advancements using carrier aggregation technology on mmWave spectrum and attained peak speed of 5.06 Gbps in 2020.

While Qualcomm is clearly established as one of the leaders on the basis of its customer relationships and partnerships, it’s interesting to look into the other company in these 3-way partnerships – Ericsson. A quick search on the Centrly 5G collection page tells us the exact positioning of Ericsson in the space.

Infrastructure equipment provider, Ericsson, is also connected to 2 other companies from the Centrly 5G shortlist – Cradlepoint and Federated Wireless:

  • In 2017, Ericsson and Federated Wireless together completed testing to support Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) engagements in the market as operators looked to densify their networks to prepare for 5G.
  • In 2020, Ericsson agreed to buy Cradlepoint in a $1.1 billion deal as the latter’s 4G and 5G solutions complemented the Swedish vendor’s and provided the opportunity to increase service provider customers’ returns on their 5G network investments.

Ericsson’s leadership in the 5G technology evolution has been driven by the improvements it brought such as dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) and Uplink Booster. Hence, Ericsson holds a rich network of customers and partners in the ecosystem today and is a viable strategic partner for any company seeking growth in the 5G market.

Opportunities for 5G companies to make further in-roads
By exploring the broader network of connections for shortlist companies, Centrly unearthed opportunities for UfiSpace, a Taiwanese 5G telecom solution provider for disaggregated and open networking technologies.

Scoring approach

The steps that formed a part of Centrly’s approach were as follows:

  1. Collection formation: A diverse set of 5G players were selected ranging from RAN platform developer Qualcomm to Federated Wireless which is a leader in shared spectrum and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) technology.
  2. Labelling: Based on the area of operation within 5G, the collection companies were labelled across a robust taxonomy for Product, Application, and Role. As a result, one can filter the list using these rich levers to find companies within a specific sub-segment of 5G.
  3. Customer relationships and partnerships: All publicly available information around the players’ 5G-focused customer relationships and partnerships was gleaned over a five-year timeframe.
  4. Scoring & Ranking: All the relationships forged by the players were then scored for their ‘strength’ on a scale of 1 to 6 and a collection-level ranking was prepared to form a 5G leaderboard.

(CS = Customer Relationship Score; PS = Partnership Score)

Understand emerging market spaces and identify potential partnership targets with Centrly
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