Smartphone player Coolpad revealed it expects to announce new partnerships with US operators as early as Q3 of this year, bucking the trend of troubles endured by fellow China-based vendors.
Charlie Parke, SVP of sales for North and South America, declined to name the partners, but told Mobile World Live the vendor is in negotiations with all four top US operators. The company already does business with T-Mobile US (its largest customer), AT&T and Sprint.
Parke said forthcoming deals are part of Coolpad’s plan to push deeper into the US market, expanding its operator presence and raising its profile to become a provider of mid- and upper-tier devices. He added onlookers can expect to see “quite a bit of activity” from the company in Q3 and Q4, along with the first half of 2019 as it executes its strategy.
“You’re seeing Coolpad take a shift from it originally being a China market first to now moving to a US first priority for the company,” Parke said. “So you’re going to see Coolpad continuing to expand our team both in the US to meet our carrier partner needs and development, but also the augmentation of our team in China to help support the US market.”
But Parke noted the company believes in setting what he called “realistic expectations”. Coolpad is on track to sell 4 million devices in the US in 2018, and in 2019 is looking to increase the figure by between 20 per cent and 30 per cent, he said.
As Coolpad starts to gain more customer recognition, Parke revealed the company is considering following in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung by offering different versions of its flagship devices.
The vendor is also looking to expand its product line beyond handsets to include wearables and IoT devices, he added.
Coolpad’s positive outlook comes in stark contrast to the misfortunes encountered by fellow China-based vendors Huawei and ZTE. The former was forced to scale back its US ambitions after failing to secure expected operator partnerships, while the latter ran afoul of the US government by violating trade restrictions and a subsequent settlement agreement.
Rather than putting a dampener on Coolpad’s ambitions, Parke said Huawei and ZTE’s troubles have actually accelerated its plan by creating a vacuum in the market. Coolpad has already proven itself to operators over several years, building a “foundation of trust” which makes it a logical partner to help fill gaps in their device portfolios, he explained.
On the legal front, Parke asserted the company is “not going to have any trouble with the US government because we abide and comply with all of the rules and laws and regulations in the markets in which we operate”.