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The Silicon Review Asia

US telecom operators turn to India to source low-cost mobile phones

US telecom operators turn to India to source low-cost mobile phones

Top US telecom operators are turning to India to source low-cost mobile phones as the US ratchets up national-security scrutiny of Chinese companies, which are handing Indian handset makers such as Micromax and Lava an opportunity to win millions of dollars’ worth of contract-manufacturing orders. The US telcos’ move to cut their dependence on China comes amid broader trade and geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Big mobile companies such as Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Cricket Wireless (a sub-brand of AT&T) have initiated talks with Indian smartphone makers, including Micromax and Lava, to procure unbranded handsets that will be bundled with data subscription contracts in the US. While US telecom firms still continue to import key hardware parts from China, they are increasingly relying on India to develop software solutions to ensure data privacy.

The US is also persuading its allies to avoid using Chinese telecom equipment as the world’s largest economy resists China’s domination in the strategic industry. So far, telecom service providers in the US have typically procured almost all of the low to mid-end mobile devices from Chinese companies such as TCL and ZTE. The increasing scrutiny on Chinese telecom gear has, however, prompted them to look at India and other available options.

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