BEIJING/WASHINGTON: Huawei, the Chinese phone manufacturer, has revised its plans for the US market where it is now looking to use third-party suppliers rather than striking a deal with a network operator.
Last month, AT&T was reported to have pulled out of a deal with Huawei under pressure from US lawmakers who wrote to the FCC citing concerns “about Chinese espionage in general, and Huawei’s role in that espionage in particular”.
And last week, Verizon, too, dropped plans to sell Huawei phones, again apparently under pressure from the US government, Bloomberg reported.
Huawei now intends to make available an unlocked version of its flagship Mate 10 Pro model, the South China Morning Post reported. This aims to compete with Apple and Samsung, via open channels which account for only 10% of the market.
Current pricing makes the Mate 10 Pro 20% cheaper to buy in the US than in Europe or China and a promotional $150 gift card from retailers will make it around one third cheaper than the Apple iPhone X.
But in a market where consumers usually acquire smartphones through instalment plans with carriers, some observers doubted whether this would be a sufficient inducement.
“In a market dominated by iPhones, Huawei should offer more incentives to encourage consumers to try its phones first,” said Wang Xiaofeng, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.
“The US$150 gift offer is not attractive enough because it will only be applied to a future purchase.”
ZDNet observed that it might not be a good thing for Huawei not to launch with a US carrier: “customers end up with a device free of US carrier bloatware and restrictions on timely software updates,” it said.
Sourced from South China Morning Post, Bloomberg, ZDNet; additional content by WARC staff