Reports from The Wall Street Journal and other outlets say that AT&T was ready to announce a distribution deal with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, but the deal fell through at the last minute.
The deal would have seen Huawei phones bundled with service deals in AT&T stores, as carrier stores are the primary way US consumers buy phones. The two companies were ready to announce the deal at the currently ongoing CES trade show in Las Vegas.
Huawei is the number three smartphone vendor worldwide, behind only Apple and Samsung, but the company struggles in the US. Huawei currently sells to consumers online, but the lack of carrier deals has made the company basically irrelevant in the US market. Outside of the US, Huawei is a massive company, making not only phones, but also its own line of "HiSilicon" SoCs. The company the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, but concerns about Huawei's relationship to the Chinese government has mostly kept its equipment out of the US.