Huawei to double North American staff as it secures contracts with Clearwire, Cox


Fresh off network wins with Clearwire Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Leap Wireless International Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is on its way to nearly double its staff in North America by the end of the year.
The Chinese infrastructure company has had a presence in North America since 2001, and has battled initial resistance from U.S. carriers that seemed wary of the vendor. However, Huawei’s self-described “patience and persistence” is starting to pay off. The company recently secured a number of significant network wins. Huawei built out Leap’s network in Chicago, which launched commercially in March, and is providing CDMA gear to Cox for its wireless buildout. Huawei cannot talk about the details of the Cox contract, except to say it is providing an end-to-end CDMA solution using Huawei’s LTE-ready SingleRAN product and its 3900 Series base stations. Cox has committed to building out its 700 MHz network using CDMA technology this year, but plans to upgrade to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology over time. Huawei is also aiming to become a top-tier LTE supplier.
Most recently, Huawei was selected as the third equipment manufacturer to provide base stations for Clearwire, along with existing based station suppliers Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Ltd. Co. The company is the only supplier of an advanced multicarrier base station for Clearwire.
These contracts, plus relationships with Telus and Bell Mobility in Canada, as well as Dallas-based MetroPCS, are pushing Huawei to add another 400 to 500 employees this year, some of which have already been hired, said Charlie Chen, senior vice president of marketing and product management for Plano, Texas-based Huawei. The jobs will be across a number of disciplines and locations. Huawei’s North American operations are headquartered in Texas, but the company also counts eight regional offices, as well as R&D centers in the United States, Chen noted. “We’re consistently investing in this market.” The company said 43% of its 80,000 global employees are involved in R&D.
The company is looking to hire top talent in all aspects of research and development, engineering, and technical sales and marketing. “We’ve won some big business and so we need a good structure to support those wins,” Chen said. “Recruiting top talent is always a challenge.”
Huawei said it posted $250 million in sales in North America in 2008, and is projecting strong growth for 2009. Globally, the privately held company is targeting about $30 billion in sales this year, which would be a 29% increase from the $23.3 billion in sales recorded in 2008. Although a number of infrastructure companies are trying to increase their business in China, Huawei is proud of that 75% of its business in ’08 was done outside of China.
Beyond its 3G infrastructure wins, Huawei is also investing in LTE, and is building an LTE network in Oslo, Norway for TeliaSonera. Ericsson also has an LTE contract with the Scandinavian operator. Chen said the company hopes to be a Top 2 company in LTE. The company conducted its first LTE field trial in July 2008, and has demonstrated a dual-mode CDMA/LTE phone call. “We plan to take a leadership role in LTE,” Chen said.
Indeed, a recent report from researchers at ReThink Wireless said Huawei and Ericsson are the strongest players in the nascent LTE market. “Although LTE is in its earliest stages, Huawei and Ericsson are putting clear water between themselves and their rivals, to a greater extent than any vendor managed in the trial phases of the 3G technologies. They top the list of European and Chinese LTE tests, though Motorola is also working on China Mobile’s TD-LTE project,” wrote Caroline Gabriel.
Last year the company said it shipped 2 million of its TRx transceivers and this year has already shipped 1.6 million, said Chen.

About Author

Tracy Ford

Former Associate Publisher and Executive Editor, RCR Wireless News
Currently HetNet Forum Director
Ford has spent more than two decades covering the rapidly changing wireless industry, tracking its changes as it grew from a voice-centric marketplace to the dynamic data-intensive industry it is today. She started her technology journalism career at RCR Wireless News, and has held a number of titles there, including associate publisher and executive editor. She is a winner of the American Society of Business Publication Editors Silver Award, for both trade show and government coverage. A graduate of the Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Ford holds a B.S. degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on public relations.