Huawei failed to secure a channel partnership with US operator AT&T, despite expectations a deal would be announced at CES this week, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

For several years, Huawei aspired to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor, but was hindered by a lack of partnerships in the operator-dominated US market. Huawei launched a campaign to bring its devices to the US through the Honor (mid-range) smartphone brand, but sales were limited to unlocked devices sold through online and select store channels.

The company seemed to be on the brink of a breakthrough when Richard Yu, Huawei’s head of consumer business, remarked in late 2017 the company would sell a flagship phone in the US market through a carrier “next year.” Sources told WSJ AT&T was the one who walked away from the agreement, but it was unclear just why the operator backed out.

Huawei is currently the world’s number three smartphone brand behind Samsung and Apple.