Verizon-Huawei pact reportedly hit by political pressure

A possible deal to sell the Chinese phone maker's new Mate 10 Pro in the US isn't sitting well with some in Washington, DC, Android Police says.

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Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, touts the Mate 10 Pro Porsche Edition at CES.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, touts the Mate 10 Pro Porsche Edition at CES.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Political pressure may have interfered with a second deal by Chinese tech giant Huawei to sell its phones in the United States, this time with Verizon Wireless.

On Monday, news emerged that AT&T pulled out of a deal to sell the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and The Information reported the deal had been a victim of congressional pressure. Now, on Tuesday, as Huawei touted the Mate 10 Pro at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, Android Police reported similar pressure on Verizon.

Huawei said it doesn't comment on "rumors and speculation." Verizon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, expressed frustration at the carrier partnerships. The loss of carrier support is big for Huawei, but also big for consumers, who are deprived of an Android alternative, he told the press at CES on Tuesday. Huawei has proved its quality and security, he said.

Huawei long has had trouble with US relations, in part because it sells not just phones but also network equipment used to route sensitive data around the internet. Years ago, it hired lobbyists and public relations staff to help win over the country. Technology may be a global phenomenon, but that doesn't mean it's exempt from local political issues.

AT&T and Verizon both were reported to be Mate 10 Pro sales partners, a move that would've helped Huawei establish a beachhead in the large and lucrative US phone market. Huawei, the third-largest phone maker globally in terms of units shipped, remains mostly an unknown brand in the US despite high marks for its products.

The company isn't wholly without allies, though. Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot is helping promote the Mate 10 Pro. If you're persuaded to buy the $800 phone, you can look for it at retailers like Amazon, BestBuy, Microsoft, NewEgg and B&H.

CNET's Roger Cheng contributed to this report.

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