Will Huawei Win the 4G Sweepstakes?

[qi:gigaom_icon_4G] Earlier this year, I wrote a post in which I bet that Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei would win the WiMAX sweepstakes. I would like to amend that bet to place it on Huawei winning the 4G sweepstakes, thanks to the number of carriers deploying the Long Term Evolution standard. For with the exception of Ericsson, Huawei faces little competition in the market for LTE gear.

I’m amending my bet after reading this morning that Vodafone is using Huwaei to run LTE trials. Indeed, with Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent on the ropes, the Chinese company smells blood in the North American market.

It recently opened an LTE lab in Plano, Texas; it has signed up European carriers Telnor and TeliaSonera as customers for its LTE gear; and it’s in the running to become a supplier to AT&T for its 4G network.

But the big boost for Huawei is going to come from its own home market. In 2010, the first commercial LTE network is expected to be launched in China by China Mobile. Others will work to build out the LTE networks, as well as TD-LTE, a China-only flavor of the 4G wireless broadband technology. Huawei and ZTE are the primary equipment suppliers to Chinese phone companies.

But as it waits for LTE to arrive, Huawei is still continuing on its path to 4G domination via WiMAX. Today the company added Clearwire to a growing list of customers that want its lower-priced WiMAX equipment. The only place Huawei is struggling to get 4G traction is India, said to be potentially the largest WiMAX market in the world, and where Telsima — now part of Harris-Stratex — leads.

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