Samsung focuses on regional U.S. wireless carriers, too

T.J. Maan, senior director for Regional Service Providers & Public Safety at Samsung Electronics America, was at last week’s CCA Mobile Carriers Show in Pittsburgh because of Samsung’s interest in smaller U.S. carriers.

Although Samsung is making a splash in the U.S. telecom ecosystem, garnering gigs with big companies such as Verizon, Dish Wireless and Comcast, the South Korean telecom vendor is also focused on smaller wireless carriers.

“Our go-to-market is to scale for the regional segments,” said Maan. “We’ve had a serious effort the past three years to drive growth within the regional operator and WISP segments.”

There are a couple of larger factors that are working in Samsung’s favor to gain new wireless customers. One — U.S. operators are mandated to rip and replace their existing Huawei and ZTE equipment. And two — the U.S. broadband system is about to be flooded with government and private equity money to close the digital divide.

In terms of the Huawei and ZTE rip and replace momentum, Maan said, “We are engaged with many of those operators that are looking toward upgrading their networks. We are in active trials. In a couple of places, we’re very close to getting a commercial agreement, pending the funding.”

Of course, funding is a sticking point with rip and replace because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received initial applications that exceeded its program funding by $3.08 billion.

Chris Crowe, CEO of the valued-added reseller t3 Broadband, said there are a handful of operators moving forward with their rip and replace plans. But many have been in wait-and-see mode in terms of the government funding. However, operators must submit their first purchase orders by the end of June.

Fixed wireless

The Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) fund will make $42.5 billion of government money available to close the digital divide in unserved areas of the U.S. And although the government has a preference for fiber deployments, it will allow other technologies such as FWA in areas where it’s prohibitively expensive to deploy fiber.

RELATED: Each state must set an extreme high-cost threshold for BEAD money

Maan said that his group at Samsung sees FWA as a bright spot. “Most of our big projects are focused on driving growth with a standards-based, high-reliability solution for that home broadband market,” he said.

Woojune Kim, president and general manager of Samsung’s Networks business, recently told Fierce that a growing number of broadband leaders, like Mediacom Communications and Mercury Broadband, have selected Samsung to help them leverage FWA to effectively expand coverage in rural areas across the U.S.

“We are collaborating with these operators and others to provide CBRS solutions to extend FWA services to rural areas across the U.S.,” said Kim.