OnePlus appears to be poised to start talks with US carriers about finding a home for its devices in the US market. The company’s CEO, Pete Lau, said in a recent interview with CNET that exploring a US carrier deal is of interest if the timing and terms are right.
With purchasing plans and far reaching marketing arms, the US carrier market amongst the top four of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint is a lucrative and attractive opportunity for phone manufactures. Getting even one phone into a carrier’s store will almost certainly bump sales up for that phone. But, as other manufactures have found, it is a tough sell to get in with a US carrier.
The most recent example is just this week with fellow Chinese manufacture Huawei who lost deals with AT&T and Verizon, literally, at the 11th hour. The deals fell through with 24 hours of them being announced. It was a big blow for Huawei who had to turn to more traditional retail channels to get their new Mate 10 Pro into the US market.
The general feeling is that the Huawei deal fell through due to political pressure. The company was caught up in a messy spying scandal back in 2012 and it is believe that the blow back from that is still being felt and why the deals fell through.
OnePlus doesn’t have that baggage and could find it an easier time to negotiate a deal with the likes of an AT&T or T-Mobile for their GSM phones. To get a deal with Sprint or Verizon going, they would have to produce a CDMA device which may not be in their best interest, at least not yet.
If a deal is struck between a carrier and OnePlus, it could be that we see the fruits of it in 2018. It is likely there will be a new phone from the company in the second quarter of this year. While the timings may not work out exactly, it could be the catalyst for discussions with a carrier to get a deal sorted out.