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Huawei says “hello Moto” over 3G partnership

Motorola and Chinese vendor Huawei are the latest manufacturers to form a partnership for equipment deployment. On Wednesday the pair announced a collaboration to combine their expertise and portfolios in UMTS and HSPA technologies.

The move has something of an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” feel about it, as Huawei has been eating a considerable portion of the other major vendors’ lunches outside of the US. For 2005 the Chinese vendor reported that its global contract sales grew 40 per cent year on year to hit $8.2bn (£4.4bn).

It is also arguable that Huawei has been at least partly responsible for some of the mega-mergers such as Lucent and Alcatel and Nokia and Siemens in recent months. The Chinese company has displayed an ability to expand its product portfolio and addresses emerging markets with a speed that has made the rest of the equipment supplier market nervous.

Huawei was the leading supplier for GSM networks launched in 2005, supplying network infrastructure to 13 of the 53 networks launched. In contrast, Ericsson supplied nine, while Nokia supplied five.

The vendor is also winning next-generation contracts, last year supplying eight commercial WCDMA networks in six countries: the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brunei, Mauritius and Tajikistan.

According to telecoms.com sister publication Global Mobile, at the same time, Huawei could be on the verge of entering the global big league for next-generation-contract wins. According to investment bank UBS Warburg, the vendor could be on the shortlist of suppliers T-Mobile USA is considering for its WCDMA/HSDPA rollout later this year.

Sylvain Fabre, research director at Gartner, said: “This is a significant move from Motorola, on its own the company was a lightweight in this market. This deal will help the joint venture to overtake Lucent Alcatel in the worldwide WCDMA market.

“Based on the number of WCDMA deals announced in 2005, Motorola and Huawei combined would have 18 per cent share stealing the third position from Lucent Alcatel, which accounts for 10 per cent share of the market,” said Fabre.

One of the key points in the UMTS venture with Motorola is the creation of a joint research and development centre in Shanghai. The combined portfolio will allow the partnership to offer mobile operators worldwide a choice of 3G radio access, circuit and packet core products and HSPA over a wide range of new frequency bands.

“With this collaboration, we are better positioned to meet our customers’ 3G network infrastructure needs both today and in the future,” said Greg Brown, president of Networks & Enterprise, Motorola. “This agreement enhances our technological innovation while also creating cost savings for our business.”

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