Chinese telecommunication equipment maker ZTE has won a contract awarded by BT to develop mobile handsets that let users watch television.
The contract is a boost for ZTE, which has struggled to match the success of hometown rival Huawei in winning business from operators in developed countries. In addition, ZTE's international sales fell to 45 percent of overall revenue during the first half of this year, compared with 50 percent last year.
The BT deal calls for ZTE to develop 3G (third generation) mobile handsets that support the DAB-IP (digital audio broadcasting IP) standard for streaming TV and digital radio to mobile devices, ZTE said. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The handsets will be used with BT's Movio mobile TV service, which will enter commercial operation on 1 October. The service, which will be offered in partnership with Virgin Mobile, will offer television, internet and voice telephony to 3G users in the UK.
The deal between ZTE and BT is not the first time a Chinese vendor has been chosen to provide 3G handsets for a European operator. Earlier this year, Huawei won a five-year deal to supply Vodafone with 3G handsets.