Growing security concerns surrounding Huawei Technologies may allow Samsung Electronics to challenge the Chinese giant in the fifth generation wireless market, a senior executive with the company said.
While Samsung remains the world's largest maker of smartphones and semiconductors, Huawei dominates networks by a large margin. However, its position in the market is under threat as one country after another blocks the use of its 5G products in a climate of concern that could be used to spy on the Chinese government. Huawei denies any involvement in espionage activities.
"Strategically, these concerns allow us to gain more market share," said S. Abraham Kim, vice president of Samsung's mobile division, at a conference in Seoul on Wednesday. "Huawei has maintained dominance in the networking market since the 4G LTE era, but we are at the forefront of 5G technology used in smartphones," he said.
Samsung plans to launch a 5G-capable phone along with a flexible screen phone next year. The company believes that these devices are their best option to re-activate sales that have been reduced as consumers wait longer to upgrade their smartphones.
However, technical challenges remain, Kim said. 5G signals may be clogged depending on how the phone is maintained, which implies the need to place more antenna modules in the already limited properties of a phone, along with a large battery. Samsung is now studying how to divide the internal parts of a device into two layers, minimizing overall thickness, Kim said.
Heat is another challenge because 5G technology transmits much more data and consumes more power, which can make the phone too hot to sustain. Samsung is working to limit the temperature to just over 40 degrees Celsius, the executive said.
Recently, Huawei replaced Apple as the second largest smartphone maker in the world and is narrowing the gap with Samsung. However, worries over the Chinese company's global business have risen since Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, was arrested for his alleged conspiracy to defraud banks and transgress US sanctions imposed on Iran. Meng was released on Tuesday, but faces extradition to the United States.