Of the five equipment makers looked at -- Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, and Samsung -- the Chinese giant was the only contender to get a perfect score across the categories of baseband capacity, radio unit portfolio, ease of installation, and technology evolution.
"The 5G RAN market is extremely competitive in these early stages," said Ed Gubbins, principal analyst at GlobalData.
"Operators' decisions today will direct the next decade of global telecom investment and ultimately usher in fundamental changes to the way we live and work in the 5G era."
Beyond Huawei, GlobalData said Ericsson excelled in ease of installation, while Nokia's range and compact radios was its strongest suit.
Both ZTE and Samsung were unable to gain a full mark from GlobalData, but were handed the same overall score as Ericsson and Nokia.
"Even if Huawei was initially in the lead, we think European and Asian vendors are catching up, and we are therefore cautious about the extent to which Huawei may have a material product or cost advantage," the report said.
"If reports of a 5G gap are true, operators in markets facing Huawei restrictions could theoretically see higher equipment spending or delays in 5G implementation. But given the lack of value-added, 5G-ready use case applications, our forecast for 5G investment and customer appetite is bearish, so any incremental increase cost or delay should be nonmaterial to the ratings."
The Institute added that Australians backed Canberra's decision to ban Huawei and ZTE from the nation's 5G networks. Huawei is also currently banned from being used in the National Broadband Network (NBN).