Huawei's AT&T deal may have failed due to political pressure

The deal is off between AT&T and China's Huawei.

Huawei confirmed the news at CES 2018 in Las vegas, Nevada. "USA consumers need a better choice, and as a leader in technology and innovation, Huawei is prepared to fill this need", the company said in a statement provided to Reuters. It would have been the Chinese company's biggest opportunity to break into the USA market with its smartphones.

Huawei was widely expected to announce a partnership with AT&T to distribute its phones in the USA this year, said the people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as the talks were private.

The deal would have seen the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei's competitor to the iPhone X, available through a major carrier in the States for the first time.

"We were hoping that the AT&T partnership would pave the way for similar deals with other USA carriers", a Huawei manager told The Information.

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The company has been trying to penetrate the USA market for years now and its success hinges on selling its phones through carriers.

For now, part of Huawei's plan is to reach out to US consumers using alternative channels such as online and physical retail stores. A deal with AT&T would've helped Huawei get its phones in front of many new consumers.

The reason blamed for the deal falling apart is pressure from the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees via a letter sent to the FCC back on December 20.

"On Tuesday, Huawei will introduce new products to the US market, including availability". Huawei has denied these allegations for years now, but it looks like AT&T was unwilling to take the risk.

  • Douglas Reid