This is a big setback for Huawei’s plans to expand in the U.S.
Strong rumors have swirled for weeks that AT&T would soon start to carry and distribute high-end Huawei phones, marking a big move for the Chinese manufacturer as it tries to get a strong foothold in the U.S. market. But at CES 2018, as Huawei and its sub-brand Honor both make announcements about international releases of their phones, Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T has backed away from the deal with Huawei.
It was almost a foregone conclusion that Huawei would partner with a U.S. carrier early in 2018, with the expected launch device being the new Huawei Mate 10 Pro. According to WSJ, the announcement of the carrier partnership and phone launch was set for January 9 here in Las Vegas. It isn’t known why the deal broke down, but the implication is that it was AT&T that backed away whereas Huawei was bullish on an entry to the U.S. market with a carrier partner.
Toward the end of 2017 there were also heightened expectations that Huawei’s other brand, Honor, would also see a U.S. carrier debut with the View 10 and 7X. At an Honor-focused CES 2018 event in Las Vegas this week, representatives said that for the Honor brand the immediate future in the U.S. was centered around improving its online sales of unlocked phones and customer support for those devices, with announcements of a carrier partnership coming later on down the road. With these new details about an AT&T deal falling through now coming out, this all makes a bit more sense.
With this setback and the expectation that Huawei wouldn’t partner with either Verizon or Sprint for a device launch on account of their legacy CDMA networks, it leaves Huawei with very few options for making the splash in the U.S. it initially intended to have.
January 8, 2018 at 10:45AM