A year ago, we asked Alcatel Mobile (a re-brand of the parent operation, Celtel) if they would have phones on U.S. carriers. At the time they said a confident “yes”, with both CDMA and GSM phones aimed at the U.S. market.
But a year later, the phone manufacturer has had little traction in the marketplace. The manufacturer has only managed to sell a few phones to Sears as unlocked GSM phones, and is selling a few TechFaith-branded smartphones under the Sharper Image brand.
So, it should come as no surprise that we had to ask one of our first questions would be what went so wrong over the past year. Read more to find out what the company had to say, complete with photos of their new handsets.
To answer that question, the response was essentially that Alcatel Mobile tried, and is still trying. They declared the process simply as “difficult” and that handset makers are constantly shifting requests in terms of phones.
Alcatel Mobile did tout their new partnership with Playboy Mobile for an MVNO, however, did not have phones on show to demonstrate functionality.
We also noticed a complete lack of CDMA phones on the show floor. When asked, the staff on-site noted that CDMA phones were being handled by a “different division”, and indicated that Cellatel has moved their focus for CDMA onto Central America and South American markets.
Also, we noted our question last year of when Alcatel Mobile would be shipping phones on “Tier 1” carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel, etc), and if this time next year they would be shipping phones to them, their answer this time was “if the dynamics stay the same… then yes, we will”
Finally, Cellatel has persisted in stating that most of their Alcatel Mobile phones are designed by Alcatel. However, we have long held internal suspicions that the devices were ODM’ed by a manufacturer such as TechFaith. The first photo in our gallery below is from TechFaith’s booth… and clearly shows regular, Alcatel-branded phones being sourced from TechFaith.
Images available in high definition, click on images to view separately, then click again to view in HD.