Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 13, 2009
On Aug. 13, ZTE announced that Verizon Wireless will carry its wireless broadband USB modem. This is the first time for Verizon to offer a ZTE product.
The deal could be the precursor of more wins to come. If the vendor relationship works, Verizon may later buy ZTE handsets or infrastructure. “This is a big step into the tier-1 [carrier] market in the U.S.,” George Sun, chief technology officer at ZTE USA, tells BusinessWeek.com. “We see this as a significant step to get more involved [with Verizon and other large carriers].”
If ZTE moves more deeply into Verizon’s stores, it could potentially threaten suppliers of some of Verizon’s lower-end phones, such as Samsung and Motorola. ZTE already supplies phones to small carrier MetroPCS. It sells wireless equipment to carrier Sprint Nextel and its partner Clearwire. ZTE’s total U.S. sales reach $100 million today, Sun says. That’s not much. But the company is beefing up its North American presence, and is looking to grow in this market.