Chinese manufacturer Huawei may be about to land its first major U.S. contract, according to investment firm UBS Warburg.
In a research note issued this week, UBS states that Huawei has made the short list at T-Mobile USA for the carrier's 3G HSDPA rollout in the second half of this year. Other vendors on the short list include incumbent GSM suppliers Ericsson, Nokia and Nortel, UBS states.
Should Huawei win, it would be the first Tier 1 operator win in the U.S. for the company, UBS states.
UBS attributed its information to "discussions with industry contacts."
T-Mobile is apparently attracted to the compact design of Huawei's distributed base station, according to UBS.
"The separation of radio and baseband processing into two units by Huawei may allow T-Mobile to maximize use of existing GSM towers/cabinets in rolling out HDSPA, thus greatly reducing T-Mobile's overall build-out cost," the UBS report states.
While Huawei has long been a thorn in the side to North American and European vendors in China and internationally, the U.S. has been disappointing for the company. UBS believes the company, which regularly undercuts other vendors on price while offering compatible functionality and performance, did not hit its sales targets for the U.S. in 2004 or 2005.
And in the T-Mobile USA 3G buildout, "incumbent vendors could be aggressive in attempting to keep Huawei out of the vendor selection," UBS reports.
UBS expects T-Mobile USA to make its final vendor selection by mid-year.