Chinese tech giant Huawei may have run up against yet another wall in the United States. Telecom heavyweight Verizon, under political pressure from the government, has backed out of its plans to sell mobile phones manufactured by Huawei, according to a report published by Bloomberg.
Renewed fears from U.S. government agencies and lawmakers around Huawei's suspected ties to Chinese espionage efforts, an issue that has plagued the company for nearly 15 years, is to blame for the Verizon deal falling apart, according to the Bloomberg report published on Tuesday, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
The report stated that Verizon has decided not to include Huawei's Mate 10 Pro, a smartphone that is being positioned as a rival to Apple's iPhone and Samsung mobile devices, in its product portfolio. The move comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that carrier competitor AT&T also backed out of a deal to sell the Mate 10 Pro to its customers.
A spokesperson for Verizon said the carrier "does not comment on speculation" when reached by CRN for comment.
While privately-held Huawei can sell its own devices in the U.S., the company has been trying to make deals with wireless carriers and third-party companies in order to better expand into the U.S. market and reach more customers.
Huawei was expected to unveil partnerships with AT&T and Verizon at CES 2018 this month, but the announcements never came. Instead, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, announced the launch of the Mate 10 in the U.S., but said the smartphones would be sold through retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon, and Microsoft.
During his keynote, Yu specifically called out its failed AT&T deal, calling the thwarted partnership "a big loss" for consumers.
Huawei, for its part, has denied any accusations that the company is controlled by the Chinese government as alleged by some U.S. government agencies, and said it has cooperated with investigations from the U.S. government.
One Verizon partner that asked not to be named said that Huawei's difficult history in the U.S. is influencing the U.S.-based carriers' decisions on whether or not to carry Huawei's products.
At the same time, the channel is starting to get more involved with selling devices as more customers look to solution providers for support, the executive said.
"The [device options for partners] have really been dominated by Apple products, because Apple products have been carrier-agnostic and easy for partners to get," the executive said.