Huawei is bidding for a significant wireless contract with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), according to a report in the Financial Times, a further indication of the Chinese company's desire to crack the U.S. market.
The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said Huawei is looking to sell equipment needed for an expansion of Sprint's mobile broadband network. The report did not say what kind of equipment was under discussion. Nor did it say if, or when, a decision regarding the contract would be made. The report said the bid was part of Huawei's larger strategy to gain wider access to the U.S. market in the wake of its failed $2.2 billion acquisition bid for 3Com in 2007.
Sprint spokesman Scott Sloat declined to comment. A Huawei spokeswoman, Jannie Ngyuen, declined to comment. However, an unnamed Huawei spokesman told Reuters: "As part of our ongoing business in the U.S., we always bid for contracts."
Huawei plans to increase its presence in North America this year by adding 600 jobs. The company already won a contract with Cox Communications for the company's 3G CDMA network, and is a supplier for Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network--but so far it has been shut out of Tier 1 U.S. carriers.
An interesting sidenote to the discussion is Sprint's deal with Huawei rival Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC). Last year, Ericsson won a seven-year, $5 billion network outsourcing deal from Sprint and took over the day-to-day operations of Sprint's network in September.
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