After Google Phone Fizzles, Huawei Turns to AT&T for U.S. Expansion

Huawei, which is closing in on Apple and Samsung in smartphones, is making a fresh effort to sell its phones through a U.S. carrier. The smartphone maker is in the process of getting its homegrown Chinese mobile chipset accredited by AT&T in the U.S., an early but significant move in a market it has so far failed to crack, people familiar with the situation said.

A major threat to the Apple-Samsung duopoly worldwide, Huawei is the world’s third-largest smartphone maker but is nearly absent in the U.S. None of the major American carriers sell the Chinese company’s phones for their main services. But that could change in the future.

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“If we want to ship millions of phones in the U.S., working with a carrier is the only way,” the manager in Huawei’s smartphone division said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

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Huawei’s latest strategy is to bring its global handsets—powered by its own HiSilicon chipset—into the U.S. carrier market. Developing its own chips allows Huawei to cut the overall cost of its phones and add unique functions.