Huawei makes waves with Leap deal

Chinese infrastructure maker Huawei inked a deal with Cricket Communications, a unit of Leap Wireless to supply the carrier with base stations. Huawei and its Chinese rival ZTE have stepped up their distribution moves in the U.S. recently: 65 percent of its orders were shipped to markets other than China last year, compared to 58 percent in 2005. Huawei has inked deals with carriers including Telecom Italia, Vodafone's Spanish unit, China Mobile's Pakistani unit and New Zealand Communications. The deal with Cricket marks its first notable carrier deal in the U.S. market.

Last year, an analyst report pointed to Huawei's increasing success in Western markets as the reason for much of the mergers that took place in the infrastructure market. Like the mergers of Alcatel and Lucent as well as Siemens and Nokia's networking businesses. Huawei's prices generally undercut those of its competitors, which puts prices on the margins for all players. That said, keeping the momentum up with such low margins could prove difficult for Huawei in the years ahead.

For more on the Huawei-Cricket deal:
- read this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- read Huawei's statement on the deal in this release