Telefónica partners with China's Phicomm for 4G devices

Telefónica plans to start selling smartphones made by Shanghai-based Chinese vendor Phicomm in Latin American markets in the second quarter of this year, underlining the operator's focus on offering low-cost devices to accelerate its LTE customer acquisition.

The Spain-based operator said it would initially sell Phicomm's C630 smartphone, which is based on Qualcomm technology and comes with a five-inch screen. It gained access to the vendor through a global procurement collaboration with China Unicom that was launched in 2015. Phicomm will also be able to establish a strategic partnership with Telefónica in future, the operator added.

Telefónica has already bought 4G smartphones from Lenovo and TCL under the China Unicom arrangement.

Indeed, China-based vendors continue to make gains in terms of global market share, according to recent figures from IDC and Strategy Analytics for the fourth quarter of 2015. Both companies placed Huawei in third place after Samsung and Apple, with Lenovo ranked fourth.

Xiaomi, which enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2013 thanks to the rapidly growing smartphone market in its domestic Chinese market, missed previous targets to sell 100 million smartphones last year after it reported sales of 70 million. However, the vendor was still ranked fifth globally in the fourth quarter of the year by IDC, Strategy Analytics and Gartner.

Counterpoint Research also noted recently that Lenovo and ZTE made massive gains in terms of market share in Russia, after Samsung and Apple both lost ground.

Lenovo replaced Apple as Russia's second-largest smartphone vendor by market share. The Chinese manufacturer's share increased from 3.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 11 per cent in the recent period. Domestic rival ZTE ranked in third place in the fourth quarter of 2015 after increasing its share from 2.8 per cent to 10 per cent.

For more:
- see this Telefónica release

Related articles:
Xiaomi introduces Mi 5 but still no word on U.S. expansion
Xiaomi, OnePlus and other Chinese manufacturers face hurdles in international smartphone expansion
Canalys: Global smartphone shipments will grow 10 per cent through 2016
Counterpoint Research: Lenovo, ZTE challenge Samsung and Apple's dominance of Russia's smartphone market
Analysts: Smartphone shipments broke records in 2015 despite slowest-ever growth in Q4

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