Although Chinese-based smartphone makers Xiaomi and OnePlus have garnered attention and market share this year as sales of their low-cost models have thrived, the companies face obstacles to expanding globally, including patent litigation and a lack of brand awareness among Western consumers.
Ericsson is reportedly about to sign a contract to expand the telecoms network of state-run operator Ethio Telecom, taking a slice of an $800 million (€643 million) contract originally awarded to ZTE.
Huawei signed a five-year global agreement with Norway-based Telenor Group to supply radio access network (RAN) equipment and professional services throughout the operator's European and Asian footprint.
ZTE is shooting a bank shot in the hopes that its partnerships with NBA teams will help elevate its brand profile in the U.S. market. The company has tripled its U.S. marketing investment this year compared to 2013 and it is starting to see dividends, according to ZTE USA CEO Lixin Cheng.
ZTE revealed further progress in Europe after its local German subsidiary scored two managed services deals with operators in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Huawei said it plans to increase its procurement spending in the European Union as part of its overall investment strategy for Europe, and expects to make direct purchases worth an estimated $4.08 billion (€3.8 billion) in 2015.
The European Commission dropped its threat to launch an investigation into alleged illegal subsidies for Chinese mobile equipment manufacturers, in what will come as a relief to Huawei and ZTE--the two leading Chinese vendors operating in Europe.
The smartphone revolution has greatly expanded the size of the handset market with global revenues doubling in the last six years, as consumers substitute more expensive smartphones for their feature phones and basic phones. Yet changes have devastated most of the leading incumbent handset vendors.
Telefónica Deutschland's pending completion of its acquisition of domestic rival E-Plus is not stopping the latter investing in network developments, with the company launching commercial trials of voice over LTE (VoLTE).
A clear pattern is emerging among the world's top smartphones makers as September comes into view: Almost none of them are going to use CTIA's Super Mobility Week trade show as the official launch vehicle for their latest phones and wearable devices.