OnePlus is presently developing an Android smartphone capable of communicating with the fifth generation of wireless networks and intends to launch it at some point next year, the company's founder and Chief Executive Officer Pete Lau said earlier today. While speaking at the latest iteration of Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the industry veteran also confirmed OnePlus is still working on carrier partnerships in the United States but hasn't provided many more details on the matter.
The fact that OnePlus will be among the first handset makers in the world to launch a 5G-ready mobile device is a direct result of its close relationship with American chipmaker Qualcomm, Mr. Lau said. The OnePlus 7 or however the firm's 2019 smartphone ends up being called should hence be one of the few mobile offerings that American consumers will be able to use in conjunction with initial 5G networks meant to start being deployed throughout the country on a significant scale next year. Besides OnePlus, Huawei already confirmed its intentions to launch 5G-enabled Android devices in 2019, with Samsung being expected to do the same.
A U.S. carrier partnership would be an extension of OnePlus's catch-all strategy that recently also saw it partner with select mobile service providers in Europe, though the company's own online storefront remains its primary sales channel. The OnePlus 6 has standard GSM capabilities and therefore works on T-Mobile and AT&T's networks, though Mr. Lau hasn't specified whether only those two operators are presently in talks over a potential partnership with the Chinese firm. While locked devices in the U.S. often come with a significant volume of pre-installed bloatware apps, the executive said that won't be an issue with OnePlus-made handsets once they eventually debut stateside through carrier channels, having asserted that offering a "burdenless" experience to consumers is a non-negotiable factor in the company's talks with all telecom giants in the country. OnePlus has been considering the idea of partnering with one or more American carriers for some time now, with the move being seen as a natural extension of its ambition to provide consumers with a more affordable alternative to today's flagships seeing how the U.S. remains the world's largest market for high-end smartphones, both Android and otherwise.