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Huawei reportedly in talks with AT&T over US smartphone distribution
Huawei may be on the verge of making a significant step towards penetrating the American market. According to The Information, citing people familiar with the situation, Huawei is in the process of getting one of its HiSilicon Kirin chipsets accredited by AT&T in the US.
In 2012, Huawei’s prospects for selling smartphones in the States were hindered by a congressional report which raised concerns over the connection to the Chinese government, suggesting its smartphones could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei denied the claims, but is still yet to get a foothold in the US market: Huawei phones currently aren’t sold through any of the major US carriers.
Huawei and AT&T have “Discussed the possibilities of selling a HiSilicon-powered Huawei phone in the US.”
The tide may now be turning, however. The Information, again citing people familiar with the matter, said that Huawei and AT&T have “Discussed the possibilities of selling a HiSilicon-powered Huawei phone in the US,” which, if it went ahead, would be a crucial move in raising brand awareness and trust in America.
The aforementioned chipset accreditation would only be the first step in securing distribution, however. Accreditation would make such a deal possible, but Huawei would still have to make a proposal to sell specific phones on the network — and there is no guarantee this would go through.
Huawei is currently the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world by shipment volumes, behind Apple and Samsung. Though Huawei’s home nation of China is the biggest smartphone market, the US is a greater prospect for high-end devices — something which Samsung and Apple are both capitalizing on while Huawei targets emerging markets.
Huawei’s consumer business group CEO Richard Yu has set his sights on overtaking Apple in smartphone market within the next couple of years, though, and cracking the US within that time frame would certainly help. Recently, Huawei struck a deal to sell its new flagship, the Huawei P10, with carriers Rogers, Fido, Bell and Videotron in Canada. Broader North America deals certainly seem on the cards.