US telecommunications carrier AT&T has apparently abandoned a plan to sell smartphones made by China’s Huawei Technologies.
According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T, which is the second-largest provider of mobile phone services in the US in terms of subscribers, changed its mind about a deal to sell Huawei phones.
It is not known what prompted the decision, but a US Congressional panel had in the past raised national security concerns in relation to use of equipment made by Huawei, the paper noted.
Huawei has denied any involvement in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.
According to the Journal, Huawei had been expected to announce Tuesday at the CES trade show in Las Vegas that it had reached an agreement with AT&T, its first partnership with a major US mobile carrier.
But AT&T has apparently walked away from the deal.
Confirmation of that came from Huawei itself, which said in a statement on Tuesday that its flagship smartphone Mate 10 Pro will be sold in the US through the open channel and not by telecom carriers, Reuters reports.
“We remain committed in this market now and in the future. US customers need a better choice, and as a leader in technology and innovation, Huawei is prepared to fill this need,” the Chinese telecom equipment giant said.
WSJ noted that the failed AT&T deal marks a setback for Huawei and its ambition to be the world’s leading smartphone brand.
The Chinese electronics giant and telecoms gear supplier was named in a 2012 US Congressional report as posing a potential security risk if it makes inroads into the US market.
Huawei had dismissed the report, saying it was politically motivated. Still, it was shut out of business from major US carriers.
As the Journal reports, part of the suspicions about Huawei stem from its background, which was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer for China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The AT&T event marks the second time this year that Chinese firms failed to forge a US deal over apparent national security concerns.
Last week, news surfaced that US authorities blocked the sale of money transfer firm MoneyGram to Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial.
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