At the start of this year, Huawei has reason to be unhappy. It was hoping to partner with major US wireless carrier AT&T in pushing its flagship devices to American mobile users this year, but the second biggest mobile operator in the country has since backed out of the deal. Although the Chinese tech giant did soldier on (confirming that it was still releasing its Mate 10 phablets and new Honor handsets in 2018 anyway), having been ditched by AT&T must have hurt.
Well, it seems that the story is far from being over. According to a report recently published by Reuters, American lawmakers have apparently pressured AT&T to back out of the Huawei deal. Members of Congress had reportedly lobbied against the wireless service provider’s plan to sell Huawei branded smartphones by way of the carrier’s subsidy program.
The Reuters report also mentioned that these same lawmakers were actively discouraging AT&T to strike other deals with the Chinese mobile manufacturer. These other deals were said to include an arrangement to work out standards for a 5G wireless service, and another potential agreement with Cricket Wireless, a prepaid arm owned by AT&T since almost half a decade ago. On top of this, the US lawmakers had also warned AT&T that business ties with Huawei, as well as with China Mobile (a telecoms company owned by the Chinese government), could seriously affect AT&T’s chances of landing contracts with the US government.
Interestingly, there was a House Intelligence Committee report issued back in 2012 that cited Chinese phone makers Huawei and ZTE as potential national security risks. In that report, it was suggested that businesses from the private sector carefully consider the long term security risks before striking business relationships with Huawei or ZTE for hardware or service. Intriguingly, just last weekend Texas Republican US Rep. Michael Conaway had introduced a new bill that would effectively prevent the US government from partnering with any mobile operator that uses either Huawei or ZTE devices.
It is safe to say that Huawei had big plans for 2018, and quite obviously, a small part of those plans can no longer come to fruition. But the Chinese phone maker is still looking to attract American consumers with the upcoming release of its Mate 10 as an unlocked offering next month at a starting price of $799, with the help of retailers that include Amazon, Best Buy, Microsoft, Newegg, and B&H.
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