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NEC Reenters U.S. Cellphone Market Through AT&T

Irving, Texas — NEC is reentering the U.S. cellular market with the launch of a ruggedized Android smartphone through AT&T.

The 4G Android LTE phone, a ruggedized military-spec model equipped with AT&T’s push-to-talk (PTT) service, will be available June 21 at $99 with two-year contract exclusively through AT&T’s website and through the carrier’s business solutions channels.

“The U.S. has always been a unique wireless market given its CDMA/GSM networks and unique subscriber demands,” an NEC spokesperson told TWICE. “Previously, a business decision was made that NEC would focus on strengthening its position in other international markets. NEC is using that wealth of knowledge gained from its positions in other markets to deliver a purpose-built smartphone for today’s enterprise and [bring-your-own-device] users.”

NEC left the U.S. cellular market in the early 2000s.

“We already have been working with AT&T and other carriers to discuss placements of NEC products in their portfolios,” the spokesperson continued.We don’t have anything to announce at this time, but we believe that the launch of NEC Terrain at AT&T is a strong step toward developing future opportunities.”

The bar-style NEC Terrain comes with hard QWERTY keyboard and meets military specification (MIL-810G) for water, dust and shock resistance. For enterprise use, it features VPN, on-device encryption, and remote locking and wiping by IT departments.

Other features include scratch-resistant 3.1-inch Corning Gorilla Glass screen, dedicated push-to-talk key, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, Android 4.0 and EarSmart technology combined with dual speakers to ensure incoming voices are loud, the company said. Echo cancellation and noise suppression is designed to ensure clarity of conversations, NEC said.

It also has a 5-megapixel main camera, 0.3-megapixel font camera, 8GB of internal memory and 32GB MicroSD slot.

AT&T recently added its PTT service to the iPhone 5 and 4S via an app.