Samsung would ‘welcome the opportunity’ to help build UK 5G networks

Samsung would “welcome the opportunity” to help build the UK’s 5G networks following the decision to ban Huawei, a UK executive has said.

Conor Pierce, the tech giant’s corporate vice president for the UK and Ireland said the company could help get the UK “back on track” with its 5G roll-out.

Speaking as the company unveiled its latest range of devices, including the new Note 20 series of smartphones, two new tablets, a smartwatch and wireless earphones, much of which comes with 5G support, Mr Pierce said Samsung had enough experience with the technology to provide a viable solution.

“We are still at the forefront of 5G. I think we’re one of the very few companies that can offer an end-to-end 5G solution from chips to network infrastructure to devices, which puts us in a very unique position,” he told the PA news agency.

“And we’ve seen great success in our 5G network infrastructure business in the US and also in Korea.

“But obviously, with the news the UK Government announced regarding our competitor, this is a huge opportunity for Samsung, and of course, I would welcome the opportunity to fast-track the UK back on track to drive a very strong 5G roll-out.”

Mr Pierce also pointed to Samsung having “over 90% market share” in 5G mobile devices following a number of 5G-enabled phone launches in the last year to further highlight its strong position in the sector.

Some prominent industry rivals, most notably Apple, are yet to release a 5G-enabled device, and Mr Pierce suggested it was important they did to help push the industry forward.

“I always encourage our competition to catch up one day because it’s difficult doing all the heavy lifting and I know when there are more players in the market, awareness and consideration go up and become front and centre,” he said.

He also spoke about the challenges of helping people stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as launching new technology products and changing the way its devices were sold.

“I think most importantly, we see our role in terms of technology, and especially during lockdown it’s been fundamental for people to get through this difficult period when they were connecting with each other like never before – whether that’s through Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Samsung Knox,” he said.

He added that Samsung had added features to its online retail to help customers unable to come to physical stores during lockdown, including new virtual hands-on sessions to help customers preview new products before buying them.

He also said the mobile business was unlikely to “go back to where it was” before the pandemic.

“I think you can look at the high street these days in regards to Covid and it was having difficulties sustaining the old model, the bricks and mortar model,” he said.

He pointed to new types of retail, including Samsung’s “experience store” in King’s Cross in London as an example of how the high street was changing.