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Huawei in the running for US Cellular LTE contract

The two companies offer complimentary optimisation solutions

Chinese vendor Huawei has made the shortlist in the tender for US Cellular Corp’s LTE network.US Cellular plans to roll out its LTE network later this year but is, according to a spokesman, still evaluating the results of a trial that took place in 2010.

Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent are understood to remain in competition for the bid. But a place on the shortlist might be more significant for Huawei. The firm’s bid to expand into the American and European markets has attracted controversy in recent months, with American politicians in particular citing security concerns. High profile cases have included Sprint’s decision to exit a deal with Huawei following government pressure.

More recently, the Chinese kit maker was forced to withdraw from its acquisition of 3Leaf by the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) on grounds of national security – prompting the firm’s deputy chairman to write an open letter to the US authorities challenging them to present proof that Hauwei has links to the Chinese military and intelligence services, accusations that have dogged the vendor for some time.

Further controversy is likely to arise from Huawei’s announced intention to bid for upcoming US contracts for LTE-based public safety networks. The manufacturer says it is already testing its technology with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) ahead of the bid process.

With over six million subscribers, US Cellular is America’s sixth-largest wireless provider. In 2010, it saw its customer base shrink by 69,000 but still managed to grow revenues slightly – ARPU increased from $47.07 during Q4 2009 to $47.41 in the same period in 2010. The company is expected to make an announcement regarding the LTE contract in the next few weeks.

The seventh annual LTE World Summit takes place in Amsterdam on 17th – 18th May

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