Chinese telecom group Huawei Technologies is set to launch as a major smartphone brand in the United States after agreeing a deal with one of the country’s largest mobile network operators, the South China Morning Post reports. The move comes more than five years after the company was branded a national security threat by the US Congress.
Huawei is widely expected to announce a partnership with US mobile carrier AT&T at the annual CES trade show in Las Vegas this week, which will allow the Shenzhen-based company to sell its smartphones across the US for the first time and compete with rivals Apple and Samsung.
AT&T had a total of 153 million wireless subscribers in the US and Mexico as of the third quarter of last year, which provides a solid base for Huawei’s expansion plans in North America.
“So far, the biggest obstacle for Huawei had been to position itself as a world-class smartphone brand, like Apple or Samsung, that can independently survive and sell on the store shelves of mobile carriers,” said Neil Shah, director of Counterpoint Research, in an interview. “Huawei has come a long way in building an attractive [product] portfolio, but it will have to spend a lot on marketing to convince US consumers to warm up to its brand.”