OnePlus is not yet a household name like LG or Samsung, but it could be on its way there. According to a new report, the company’s fall flagship phone will launch on T-Mobile in the US. The appearance of the OnePlus 6T in carrier stores would mark the first time the Chinese startup has inked a deal with a carrier in the US, which could get its phones in the hands of many more consumers.
Getting into the US smartphone market usually requires OEMs to work with carriers first, usually with ultra-cheap budget phones to start. OnePlus came at the problem from a different direction. It launched unlocked phones with extremely low prices, using an invite system to keep overhead low. Over time, it increased the price until it had a healthy margin on the devices, but OnePlus phones are still hundreds of dollars less than flagship phones from Samsung or LG.
The OnePlus 6T is not official, but it seems like a foregone conclusion. For the past two years, OnePlus has launched an improved version of its flagship phone in the fall — a “T” model. The physical design is usually based on a phone produced by Chinese firm Oppo, which shares a parent company with OnePlus. It just so happens that Oppo launched the R17 recently, which is almost certainly going to become the OnePlus 6T. This phone further shrinks the already slim display notch on the OnePlus 6 and includes an in-display fingerprint reader.
OnePlus will reportedly still sell an unlocked variant of the 6T, but the T-Mobile version will be optimized for the carrier’s network. For example, it’ll have the new 600MHz LTE band T-Mobile has just started rolling out. That will mean additional testing and certification, which could delay the launch that’s currently scheduled for October. When the phone does come out, rumors suggest it will cost $550. Barely more than half the cost of a Galaxy Note 9.