Despite how much consumers demand it, it’s not easy for smartphone makers to make their devices available on carriers, US or not. There are a lot of business and logistic considerations involved and, more often than not, smaller companies have a harder time getting carriers’ attention. OnePlus, however, is no longer a small company that can be ignored and it plans to step up to the challenge of making its future smartphones, especially the 5G ones, available on carriers’ shelves.
Unlike, say, Xiaomi, OnePlus does cater to the US market but only through direct sales. But despite its prices being almost half that of leading flagship smartphones, some consumers still prefer to have the assurance of carrier subsidies. One other factor that OnePlus is considering is how carriers allow buyers to try out the phone first. Currently, the only way they can do that is through occasional pop-up events.
OnePlus has already started partnering with European carriers and it wants to do so in the US as well, says PCMag. And it could use 5G as its leverage. Citing its friendly ties with Qualcomm, OnePlus plans to make one of the first 5G-compatible phones as early as next year. The timing isn’t accidental. US carriers plan to rollout 5G in 2019.
Things are definitely going for it. Despite the annual launch mishap, OnePlus phones remain popular and fast-selling, almost like a mini Xiaomi and Apple effect. Every model has had their fair share of criticism but the company’s execs seem to have mastered the art of rationalizing perceived flaws.
That said, more than technical and business considerations, OnePlus’ entry into the US market via carriers could still be put on hold due to the ongoing trade spat between the US and China. It also doesn’t help that there is a growing sense of distrust of Chinese smartphone and network equipment OEMs, like Huawei and ZTE, whether such suspicions are warranted or not.