Huawei has acknowledged the trouble it has had in the US in the past twelve months, but it is not completely giving up on the market. Huawei is going to continue to sell its products in the US but unsurprisingly, they won’t be smartphones. Huawei is going to continue to sell its PCs, tablets, wearables and other products, but as far as the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro go, don’t expect that to come to the US – at least not officially. On the bright side, Huawei is going to be honoring the warranties on smartphones sold in the US through third-parties, so while it may say “no warranty” on Amazon’s listing for its smartphones, that doesn’t mean there is no warranty. Huawei has made the conscious decision to still honor those warranties. Huawei also mentioned that the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are going to work in the US on AT&T and T-Mobile – with full 4G LTE support. But don’t expect VoLTE, HD Voice or carrier aggregation on these smartphones. What this essentially means is that the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will work on these networks, but won’t do much else to incorporate the technologies that AT&T and T-Mobile use. And don’t expect it to support Band 71 (600MHz) for T-Mobile.
Huawei is still hoping that the geopolitical climate will change in the near future – which won’t be until at least 2020 when the next US Presidential election takes place. And with President Trump getting into this trade war with China, it’s not a surprise that he is looking to push out Chinese manufacturers like Huawei right now. Huawei does, however, believe that the US is ripe for disruption, and for more competition, so it is not giving up on the US market, at least not yet. The US is currently mostly dominated by Samsung and Apple, which means that there is plenty of room for other smartphone makers to come in and make a splash. With the Mate 20 Pro sporting a 4200mAh capacity battery and a triple-camera setup, it can definitely give the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 a run for its money. But unfortunately due to politics, many Americans won’t be able to use the Mate 20 or Mate 20 Pro, and likely won’t even know the phone exists.
How Huawei Got Put In This Position
The trouble for Huawei really began earlier this year. Huawei has had a stigma of being used by the Chinese government to spy on its customers, for quite a few years. However, there have been a number of investigations – under President Obama, so far none under President Trump – that have turned up no proof of Huawei spying on its customers. In 2018, Huawei was dealt a pretty serious blow, however, just before CES when it was going to announce the Mate 10 Pro launching on AT&T and Verizon (the two largest carriers in the US), the US government forced both carriers to drop those plans. Which meant the day before Huawei was going to announce carrier-support, it had to ditch those plans and only offer the Mate 10 Pro unlocked in the US. That was really only the beginning though. Shortly after that, many retailers also stopped selling Huawei’s smartphones. And that included Newegg and Best Buy, leaving just Amazon to purchase Huawei smartphones (though there are some third-party sellers offering the P20 Pro on Walmart’s website, but officially, only Amazon is selling Huawei smartphones). That was a pretty big blow for Huawei. After spending years forging these partnerships, to have the government just come in and wipe it all away.
At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, when Huawei’s CEO was asked why he thinks the US is pressuring carriers and retailers to stop selling Huawei smartphones, he stated that it was their competitors pushing them out of the market. Claiming that Apple and Samsung were playing politics to keep Huawei out of the US. Now there’s has been no confirmation nor denials that this is actually true, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was. After all, Samsung and Apple basically own the US, and Huawei is breathing down their necks in other regions right now. Huawei’s Richard Yu is understandably frustrated with what has been going on between Huawei and the US, especially since this is affecting more than just its mobile division. Huawei also sells networking gear to wireless carriers, which US wireless carriers have been told by US intelligence agencies to no longer use Huawei’s networking gear on its networks. Dealing an even bigger blow to Huawei, especially with carriers around the world gearing up for 5G networks. Which means that carriers are spending big money to upgrade their networks, and in the US, Huawei is being left out. While wireless carriers will have to rely on Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung for new networking hardware.
Huawei’s US Future
Not surprisingly, Huawei is not giving up on the US. While many may have expected Huawei to pull out of the US completely, it is not, and it is leaving its branding here as well. This is in hopes of the “Huawei” name becoming more synonymous with other brands in the US. For now, Huawei is going to be selling its PCs, tablets and wearables here in the US, with smartphones being missing. This is a bit like what Xiaomi did when it first launched in the US a few years ago, though it was only smartphone accessories back then (headphones, battery packs, etc.). Huawei can make a comeback to the US, but it’s going to be a tough one. After losing its retail and carrier partners, it’s going to have a tough time getting its smartphones into those stores again. On top of that, it’s name is tarnished in the US, due to all of the news about Huawei spying on its customers, even though there’s been no proof of that happening. Huawei has a long road ahead of itself, if it does want to get back into the US market, and it does definitely want to come back.