A little over a month since the OnePlus 6T launched, the company is saying that its sales increased over 249-percent (in the US) in the first month compared to the OnePlus 6, and that is due to its partnership with T-Mobile. This is according to OnePlus' founder and CEO, Pete Lau, who spoke with PCMag just prior to its launch of the special McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T on Tuesday. A big part of T-Mobile making the OnePlus 6T so successful, however, was the fact that it offered up some pretty incredible trade-in deals, allowing customers to get up to $300 off of the OnePlus 6T, which was being sold at $579 already. And getting it for $279 is a steal right now. T-Mobile also offers financing, something that OnePlus had not offered at all, and that is driving in more customers for the company. Of course, this shows OnePlus and other startup smartphone makers, that to really make a dent in the US, you're going to need to work with the carriers.
Now that number is pretty telling for OnePlus, especially seeing as that is 249-percent growth in the US in just 30 days. Now OnePlus did not give out any concrete numbers on sales there, but has stated that the OnePlus 6 did sell over a million units in the first 22 days, but that was also worldwide and not US only. Making it a bit tougher to figure out a better sales figure for the OnePlus 6T. What's surprising is the fact that OnePlus removed the headphone jack, and the phone is selling much, much better in the US than its predecessor. In this interview, Lau talked about the headphone jack, stating that it was a "painful decision" also noting that OnePlus cannot satisfy everyone. Lau stated that as smartphone screens get larger, and the battery capacity gets larger to support that larger display, there is less room inside the phone, and thus the headphone jack is the first thing to go. The OnePlus 6T has a much larger battery than the OnePlus 6, which increased to 3700mAh capacity. OnePlus believed that customers would appreciate the larger battery capacity, even if it meant ditching the headphone jack, and so far that appears to be true.
Lau also talked about how he would love to see some smaller phones making a comeback. Lau said that he would love to make a smaller smartphone, but they would need to solve the battery life issue, which is currently the biggest issue with the smaller smartphones out there right now. Lau also talked about 5G and how every carrier is going to need an "exclusive" 5G smartphone for their network in the early days of 5G. This is because every carrier is starting their 5G network a bit different. Some are going with sub-6 while others are using millimeter wave. Lau believes that sub-6 will be the way every carrier ultimately builds out 5G, as it is easier, and also works better with smartphones and battery life. But for the early days, we are going to see plenty of exclusive smartphones for each carrier, which means we are going back to the early 4G LTE days, when Samsung released about eight different smartphones in the US that were all basically the Galaxy S II but with different names.
Background: It's really not a surprise that sales of the OnePlus 6T grew so much in the US, with that T-Mobile partnership. In the US, the way to sell a phone is through carriers. Even though many manufacturers would rather leave the carriers out and sell its smartphones directly to consumers, that's just not how the market works. Selling direct to consumers speeds up updates, but it also means that you don't have to deal with a middle-man when buying a phone, which could increase the price of the phone. Somehow, OnePlus was able to sell its OnePlus 6T on T-Mobile without really increasing the cost of the phone. It did jump about $30 but that is pretty common for OnePlus these days with new smartphones. It normally increases the price by about $30, and that is largely because these smartphones are getting more expensive to make than in previous years. Now of course, one of the smaller aspects of this growth in the US for OnePlus is the fact that the OnePlus 6T is now Verizon certified. Which means if you buy an unlocked OnePlus 6T, it will work on three out of the four US carriers – only Sprint is left out here. But that still doesn't really increase a lot of sales, as much as a carrier actually stocking the phone in its stores and selling it on its financing plans.
Impact: A 249-percent increase in a single market, within the same year, is pretty astounding. And it is likely only the beginning for OnePlus. The company is only about five years old (in fact, it's five-year anniversary is this week), and it is already one of the biggest names in mobile. This is partly because OnePlus has been putting out smartphones that have incredible specs without having a sky high price tag like many other retailers out there. OnePlus has also focused heavily on India, which is one of the only markets that is actually still growing, when it comes to smartphone sales. So grabbing a piece of that growing market did definitely help out OnePlus. This has all led to OnePlus being one of the first to use the Snapdragon 855 chipset next year in its new flagship smartphone, and be one of the first with a 5G smartphone which will be heading to EE in the United Kingdom next year running the Snapdragon 855 but with the Snapdragon X50 5G Modem included. It's clear that 2018 has been a pretty big year for OnePlus already, and it's starting to look like 2019 is going to be an even bigger year for OnePlus, especially with 5G on the horizon and it is finally getting in with the US carriers which is going to help it grow exponentially.