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Huawei's AT&T USA smartphone deal collapses

12 January 2018

Huawei said in a statement on Tuesday that its flagship smartphone Mate 10 Pro - Huawei's challenger to the iPhone - will be sold in the United States only through open channels.

Yet Huawei appeared shut out of the United States six years ago after congressional investigators determined its equipment could be used for spying or crippling the USA telecommunications network, the Journal reported.

AT&T was pressured to drop the deal after members of the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees sent a letter on December 20 to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) citing concerns about Huawei's plans to launch consumer products through a major U.S. telecom carrier.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, gave no reason for AT&T Inc.'s decision.

"Additional work by the Intelligence Committees on this topic only reinforces concerns regarding Huawei and Chinese espionage", the letter to the FCC reportedly said.

The letter, signed by 18 members of the House and Senate intelligence panels, expressed concerns first voiced in 2013 by congressional investigators.

Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who played the title role in the 2017 Warner Bros. movie "Wonder Woman", is the new celebrity sponsor of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. Ms. Gadot will join Huawei's marketing efforts as the company introduces its Mate10 Pro mobile phone to US market.

Huawei is the world's third largest smartphone vendor by volume after Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O), but it has a mere 0.5 percent share of the US smartphone market, compared with 39 percent for Apple and 18 percent for Samsung, according to industry tracker Canalys.

"Everybody knows that in the U.S. market that over 90 percent of smartphones are sold by carrier channels", Yu said. He does not comment on why the deal has failed, but said it was a "big loss for consumers because they would not have the best choice for their devices".

Yu pointed out that the company had already won the trust of other major markets through carriers around the world including China, Europe and Japan, and in an apparent move to address the espionage allegations, he added: "We are serving over 70 million people worldwide". But a number of politicians reject the deal and question online security in the United States.

Huawei's AT&T USA smartphone deal collapses