BREAKING: OnePlus 7 could launch on all major US carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile)
OnePlus is not the budget flagship maker anymore – let’s agree to that. The ‘flagship killer’ vibe they brought with the release of OnePlus One in 2014 started to fade away with subsequent releases, as the Chinese OEM steadily increased the price tag.
End users and fans often forget about the business aspect. Building a sustainable business strategy is a delicate task, and you have to ensure a steady incremental revenue flow for future expansions. The smartphones vendors are in the market for profits, not charity.
Well, there were some exceptions! 👻
It's time for things to change pic.twitter.com/moPy0S3net
— XDA Developers (@xdadevelopers) April 1, 2016
Kidding apart, OnePlus faced some hiccups with OnePlus 2 after the phenomenal success with OnePlus One. Improper expansion plans and inappropriate management decisions were the hindering factors.
Fortunately, they went through a restructuring process and gradually climbing ladder with the subsequent releases. The success eventually ignited the rumor about US carrier deals, a lucrative choice for every Android OEM.
At the beginning of 2018, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau hinted CNET about possible collaborations with US wireless carriers:
If the right opportunity and right timing come along, we’ll be very happy to experiment,
With the release of the T-Mobile branded OnePlus 6T, the first hurdle has been crossed. FYI, it is possible to buy unlocked OnePlus phones in the USA which can be used with T-Mobile and AT&T since the inception. But we are talking about exclusive carrier deals here.
— OnePlus (@oneplus) October 29, 2018
The venture certainly paid off. In an interview with PCMag, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau disclosed that OnePlus 6T had seen a whopping 249% boost in the first 30 days sales in the USA after the T-Mobile deal, compared to the OnePlus 6.
— PCMag (@PCMag) December 12, 2018
As a matter of fact, OnePlus entered among the top five OEMs in the premium segment in the US for the first time. The glorious journey continues, as the Chinese OEM is now part of the top five premium smartphone makers in all over world.
We're now in the global top 5 in the premium (>$400) category, finally no more being bundled among "others". 💪
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) April 18, 2019
While the OnePlus 7 lineup (including a 5G capable model) is on the horizon, the smartphone maker may tie up with new US carriers to successfully exploit the 5G hype. Interestingly, we can spot a number of new positions in the job listing site of OnePlus, with reference to different carriers.
A portion of the job role description is as follows:
– Serve as the primary contact person for carrier-related product engineering and realization groups
– Coordinate with carriers and supervises the product approval process
– Work closely with carrier-related engineering organization and internal R&D teams on a daily basis to ensure issues can be addressed in a timely manner
– Obtain and address the latest carrier requirements and technology compliance to internal development teams
Well, not just Verizon – the position of Senior Technical Account Manager is available for AT&T and Sprint as well. The requirements mention “extensive knowledge of wireless technology” and “fluency in Mandarin Chinese”, which are rather important clues.
If I’m not mistaken, the third point from the beginning clearly indicates carrier testing and certification process of software updates as well as devices, which is a very common practice for carrier branded phones.
An understanding of carrier business models and the process to get product technically approved by the carrier
FYI, OnePlus CEO Pete had no problem to collaborate with other carriers beside T-Mobile. He told CNET:
We’re not against having discussions with other carriers in looking toward the future with what’s possible. We’re open and welcoming.
Outside US, the Shenzhen based smartphone maker is already partnered with UK’s EE and Finland’s Elisa to launch the OnePlus 7 5G model in Europe.
OnePlus’ 5G smartphone is coming to the UK’s best network this year. In fact, EE will be the first operator in the world to range the device.
EE and OnePlus are working on a research and development partnership to ensure the best possible 5G connected experience for customers. The cutting edge technology will increase reliability, increase speeds, and keep consumers connected where they need it most.
We are excited to provide our customers with OnePlus 5G smartphones in Q2. Together with customers, Elisa as the first operator in Finland, second in Europe can share early experiences of 5G’s performance.#elisa5G pic.twitter.com/IVYhtE032P
— Veli-Matti Mattila (@MattilaVeli) February 21, 2019
Meanwhile, Google reportedly is planning to collaborate with T-Mobile to sell the existing as well as upcoming Pixel phones. If it happens, then Verizon is going to lose the long-lasting exclusivity on Pixel lineup.
— 9to5Google.com (@9to5Google) April 15, 2019
Will OnePlus 7 / 7 Pro be sold in the US via all four major carriers? Or is it something related to the different 5G implementations and associated compatibility testing? Only time will tell.
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