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Report: Huawei Mate 9’s US launch to be rocky due to carrier challenges, low brand recognition


Huawei has been growing like a wildfire over the past couple of years, and with no signs of slowing down. Recently the company launched its new flagship, the Huawei Mate 9, to good reception. Unlike previous launches, however, Huawei confirmed plans to launch the device in the United States, but that might be a bit more difficult than Huawei hoped…

Huawei is apparently facing a few big obstacles (via The Wall Street Journalgetting the Mate 9 into the hands of US customers. First and foremost, there’s the issue of brand recognition. Samsung wins that battle in the US by a long shot, but most customers have at the very least heard of most other Android OEMs. Huawei, on the other hand, is basically unknown to US customers.

That alone presents an issue, as Huawei is going to need to build a name for itself just to grab the interest of potential customers. Sales in the US may be even more difficult given the fact that Huawei, in the past, has been suspected of posing a potential security threat to the US.

U.S. carriers, which distribute more than 80% of handsets in the country, are reluctant to work with Huawei—the world’s third-largest smartphone maker by shipments behind Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc.—because of its low brand recognition and security concerns associated with its networking equipment, people familiar with the matter say.

Further, Huawei will also need to ensure its phones work properly with US carriers. To get the device working on Verizon or Sprint, Huawei would need to invest in a CDMA compatible variant, which WSJ notes is a significant cost which the company likely will not undertake. T-Mobile is also likely out of the picture, seeing that Huawei was recent in the midst of a patent dispute with the carrier. Even without these issues, getting carriers on board with Huawei’s brand would be pretty difficult. Huawei will likely only sell the device through online retailers as a GSM unlocked device.

We praised the Mate 9 in our review earlier this month, and can’t wait to see it debut in the United States. However, considering these roadblocks facing the Chinese company and the likelihood of a less-than-affordable price tag, things aren’t looking too good so far…

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