Chinese equipment maker ZTE said it suffered a net loss of $343 million in 2016 because of penalties it had to pay to the U.S. for breaking sanctions with Iran and North Korea. Without the penalty, ZTE said it would have posted a net profit of $81 million, an increase of 19.2 percent over the previous year.
ZTE reported full-year revenue of $14.7 billion in 2016 with an operating profit of $170 million. The company’s Carrier Networks Division, home to the firm’s pre-5G gear and network virtualization and cloud software, reported revenue of $8.55 billion in 2016. ZTE said that its software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) products are currently deployed in more than 180 networks globally, and that it added more than 40 new SDN and NFV-related projects in 2016.
ZTE also said that its Pre-5G equipment, which includes massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology, is deployed in more than 40 networks in over 30 countries.
The company noted that it has more than 1,500 patent applications related to 5G and said that it is working on 5G research with many global operators including Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, SoftBank, China Mobile, KT Group, China Unicom, and China Telecom. The company said it expects pre-commercial 5G deployments to begin in third-quarter 2018.
Earlier this year, Reuters reported that ZTE was planning to cut about 3,000 jobs or about 5 percent of its 60,000 employees. However, the company did not mention any layoffs in its earnings release.
ZTE isn’t the only equipment vendor to post a net loss. Ericsson ended the third quarter with a $26.2 million loss, compared with a net profit of $345 million in the same period last year. The company blamed its hard times on weaker demand for mobile broadband along with a weak macroeconomic climate.
Many large equipment makers have been hit with a slowdown in spending by service providers as they complete their 4G buildouts, and 5G deployments aren’t likely to begin for at least a few more years.