Huawei seals deal with Cox

Huawei is providing wireless gear to Cox to help it build its 3G cell phone network. The deal looks to be one of the largest for the Chinese telecom equipment maker in the U.S.

Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies announced Monday that it will provide wireless equipment to cable operator Cox Communications, which is building its own 3G cell phone network.

Cox, the third largest cable provider in the U.S., is using the $300 million worth of spectrum it bought in last year's Federal Communications Commission's auction to build the network. The company also plans to resell Sprint Nextel wireless service. The service is expected to launch later this year.

Huawei is providing the CDMA equipment to build the network, which the company says will be upgradeable to the 4G wireless technology LTE, or Long Term Evolution.

Huawei has tried for several years to get a foothold in the U.S. telecom equipment market. But the company has only managed to strike a few minor deals with wireless operators, such as Leap Wireless. The deal with Cox looks to be one of the largest for the company in the U.S.

But Huawei has done well in Europe, providing gear to big operators such as Vodafone and France Telecom's Orange.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Cox deal was imminent. And it also said that Clearwire, which is building a 4G nationwide wireless network using WiMax, is also considering Huawei to provide it with gear for its network. Clearwire has joined forces with Sprint Nextel to build the new network. And it is currently selecting vendors to finish building the network. The company expects to make service available to 120 million people by 2010.