ZTE in smartphone discussions with Verizon, others

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ZTE is going to release a smartphone next year based on Google's Android platform, and is in talks with a wide range of carriers worldwide, including Verizon Wireless, to partner with for smartphones, according to a company executive.

Dale Ying, ZTE's managing director of handset business marketing, told Dow Jones Newswires that the company is in talks with Verizon, Vodafone, France Telecom Orange and T-Mobile International on smartphones. As for regular handsets and data cards, he said that the company is in talks--and is conducting tests--with all four of the Tier 1 operators in the United States: AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA and Verizon.

Previously, ZTE had disclosed that it was in talks with Sprint and Verizon.

"We hope to sell our smartphone to these operators next year," Ying said. "We see big potential in the smartphone market. We are targeting to ship more smartphones in the coming few years, which will help to improve our gross margin." He added that ZTE is targeting combined shipments of 60 million handsets and data cards this year, up from 45 million in 2008.

The company has made no secret of its desire to build stronger relationships with U.S. operators as it expands its global presence. ZTE had previously disclosed it was working on an Android phone for Asian markets, but did not provide details.

In other ZTE news, another executive told Reuters that the company, which also operates in the network infrastructure market, aims to capture a fifth of the global market for GSM equipment by the end of the year.

"Our market share is now around 18 percent," Zhao Yizhe, vice president in charge of GSM equipment, told Reuters. "We could pass the 20-percent share mark by the end of this year."

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article

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