Huawei announces plans for 700 MHz band

Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies announced its products for the 700 MHz band will become available in the first quarter of 2009 as the vendor makes its big push in the U.S. market.

Huawei said it will provide network solutions for UMTS, CDMA and LTE technologies for the 700 MHz band. Multi-band operation will be supported with concurrent operation in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz, Advanced Wireless Services and 1900 MHz spectrum bands.

Using software defined radios, the base station portfolio will support dual-mode operation for CDMA + LTE and UMTS + LTE technologies, allowing operators to carry out smooth network evolution from UMTS or CDMA to LTE, said Huawei.

In an interview with FierceWireless, Charlie Martin, CTO-Wireless, said Huawei plans to become an aggressive player in the U.S. market. "The U.S. market is very strategic for us," he said. "Our goal is to be the premier vendor in the world. We can't do that without the U.S. We are totally committed to this marketplace."

Martin said its win last summer to deploy CDMA EV-DO networks for Leap Wireless was an important way to get the vendor's foot in the door of the U.S. market. Huawei so far has completed phase one with Leap, deploying three markets. It is now embarking on a bigger deployment in the second phase since the deployment includes Chicago.

Huawei has gained momentum in Europe, inking deals with carriers including Telecom Italia, Vodafone's Spanish unit, China Mobile's Pakistani unit and New Zealand Communications. In January, Huawei won a contract from O2 Germany to install some 8,000 base stations. This is the second contract Huawei has racked up in Germany in as many months; in December T-Mobile International engaged the Chinese firm to provide next generation packet switched core networks infrastructure in five European countries: Germany, the U.K., Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

"Our value proposition is high quality and innovation," Martin said. "We are spring boarding off of what we've done in other countries to bring them to the U.S."

Interestingly, Huawei is not targeting WiMAX in the U.S. as it missed out on a deal with Sprint since the vendor hadn't arrived in the U.S. market in time. "We view WiMAX as different from CDMA and LTE in terms of the fact that WiMAX is a good alternative for emerging markets and alternative operators," Martin said.

The U.S. infrastructure market has historically been a difficult one to crack given the fact that infrastructure deals have been largely wrapped up, business cycles are longer and the business development process requires that vendors spend a lot of time marketing their wares, Martin said. But the 700 MHz and AWS bands are providing new opportunity.

"Last year vendors told us it wasn't the right time to talk," Martin said. "Now they want to talk. They aren't guaranteeing anything, but they definitely are ready to talk."

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