China-based handset manufacturer ZTE has big plans for its lineup in the US market next year, reports Fierce Wireless. The company announced this week that it is currently in talks with major US wireless carriers to bring LTE-enabled and high-end smartphones to The States.
“By 2015, we expect the U.S. to be the largest market for handsets for ZTE,” said Lixin Cheng, president of ZTE’s North American division, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
“With a similar feature set [to the iPhone], ZTE can offer an alternative,” Cheng added, saying that the ZTE option would be “more affordable” than an iPhone. The iPhone 4S has a starting price of $650, if purchased without the benefit of carrier discounts that come with signing a new two-year contract. With contract, the 16GB iPhone 4S costs $200.
The new ZTE phones will reportedly run on either Google’s Android operating system, or on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.
ZTE already has a presence in the US market, but so far the only phones they’ve released are of the lower-end variety, and are available on pre-paid networks, like Boost Mobile, MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless. AT&T is the only major national network that carriers ZTE handsets.
While it may seem as though the smartphone market is already over-crowded with options, ZTE knows how to boost its market share. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the company recently surpassed Apple as the world’s No. 4 shipper of cellphones, having grown to a global cellphone market share of 4.7 percent during the third quarter of this year with its shipment of 18.5 million cellphones.