OnePlus is well known among smartphone and tech enthusiasts, but more than four years after releasing its first handset and partnering with supermodels and trendy fashion brands like Colette to help push its products, OnePlus still isn’t exactly a household name in the U.S.
However, according to a report from CNET (that was later backed up by PCMag’s Sascha Segan), it seems OnePlus will make a big push at last into the American smartphone market by partnering with T-Mobile to sell the upcoming OnePlus 6T in retail stores later this fall.
This would mark the first time a major U.S. carrier has agreed to sell a OnePlus phone in its stores. That would be a huge deal, because as Huawei CEO Richard Yu highlighted earlier this year at CES 2018, more than 90 percent of U.S. smartphone sales occur via carrier channels. That kind of dominance by carriers has left little room for smaller brands such as OnePlus to expand, a sentiment not lost on Huawei, which after years of trying to sell its phones directly via its website and other online retailers, saw deals with AT&T and Verizon torpedoed due to security concerns from U.S. politicians.
The partnership also makes a lot of sense for both parties, because by working with OnePlus, T-Mobile gets the opportunity to attract younger, more tech-savvy customers as it tries to further distance itself from AT&T and Verizon. Additionally, since OnePlus has historically made phones with global compatibility that rely on GSM networks, the company was really only able to choose between T-Mo or AT&T in the U.S.—unless it made some big changes with the upcoming OP6T.
As for the rest of the world, OnePlus has recently seen rapid growth in Asia, which led to the company’s revenue doubling to 1.7 billion in 2017, while also surpassing both Samsung and Apple to become the number one premium phone brand in India.
Later this fall, if OnePlus arrives in T-Mo stores with a new phone, it could be poised to steal even more sales from expensive flagship phones by targeting customers who want solid, up-to-date specs, but are scared away by the $700-plus price tags seen on iPhones, Galaxy phones, and others. Reached by Gizmodo, a spokesperson for OnePlus declined to comment on any plans it may have with T-Mo: “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” they said.
However, it must be said that T-Mo would only just be a start, because unless OnePlus adds support for CDMA, it’s effectively punting on one-third of the U.S. smartphone market. But for people tired of the Apple/Samsung or AT&T/Verizon duopolies, OnePlus’ partnership with T-Mobile could be just what the U.S. needs to help shake things up.