Sci-tech

Blow for Huawei as AT&T deal collapses at the last minute

Blow for Huawei as AT&T deal collapses at the last minute

A deal under which USA carrier AT&T Inc was to have sold smartphones made by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has collapsed at the eleventh hour, people with knowledge of the matter said, in a major setback for the Chinese firm's global ambitions.

Rumors have been brewing for some time now that Chinese phone maker Huawei will officially make its Mate 10 Pro flagship available in the United States through US carriers. Huawei told Reuters that while it will sell the Mate 10 in the United States, it will only be through "open channels" and not via any wireless carrier.

That placed Huawei's smartphones at a considerable disadvantage compared to Apple, Samsung and other phone makers whose products are readily available from mobile carriers' stores.

Huawei already confirmed that they would be expanding into the U.S. Indeed, Huawei has been eagerly pushing the news that the Mate 10 Pro would be coming to the U.S., with more details to come at CES.

For years, there's been a big hole missing in the US Android phone market.

So far there is no sign that Huawei is trying to strike a handset sales deal with any of the other major US mobile carriers, such as T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint.

Blow for Huawei as AT&T deal collapses at the last minute

AT&T has never confirmed reports that such a deal was under consideration and it again refused to comment on the matter on January 8 in an email exchange with eWEEK.

Huawei had planned several announcements for the CES event this week, including speculation that it was ready to reveal a sales tie-in with AT&T, according to the earlier reports.

That may be good news for consumers, but that not might bode well for Huawei. The Wall Street Journal and The Verge both reported that AT&T backed out of the deal for some unknown reason.

An expected partnership with US carrier AT&T to distribute Huawei phones in the United States appeared to have fallen through, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The Dec. 20 letter, reviewed by The Information, cited an intelligence committee report on the Chinese firm's alleged ties to the Communist Party and China's intelligence and security services.

Huawei has long raised concerns from Congress such as when, in 2012, US investigators alleged that their telecommunications equipment could be used for spying by Chinese authorities.


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