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Huawei Looks To Infrastructure Deals With Cox, Clearwire To Enter U.S. Market

In order to enter the North American cellphone market, Huawei Technologies was looking at selling a stake in its mobile-devices unit to a U.S.-based firm, but the economy foiled those plans after the poor credit markets led to few and undesirable offers last October. Since then, it seems the Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker Huawei Technologies has been making strides all on its own.

Yesterday, T-Mobile USA announced that it has started selling its first 3G laptop modem, which is manufactured by Huawei. And today, we are learning today that the company has potentially won two major infrastructure contracts. The WSJ reported that Huawei will supply the network infrastructure Cox Communications upcoming cellphone network and that it is also in the final running for a Clearwire’s U.S. WiMax network roll-out — potentially its largest U.S. deal yet.

The WSJ said other finalists for the Clearwire contract include Motorola (NYSE: MOT), Samsung and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Siemens Networks, according to unnamed sources. However, Clearwire will likely select more than one vendor for its network, and it isn’t clear how big the contracts will be. Previously, both Nokia and Motorola were working with Sprint (NYSE: S) on its WiMax network before it merged its 4G operations with Clearwire (NSDQ: CLWR).

It’s been difficult for large Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE to get U.S. contracts because of national-security concerns, according to the WSJ. However, its difficult for them not to want to compete here when the U.S. wireless carriers are expected to spend $19 billion on infrastructure this year, according to UBS. UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos estimates the Cox contract to be worth less than $100 million. Huawei also works with Leap Wireless.