- At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau talked about future plans for the company.
- During the chat, he said there will be a OnePlus 5G phone released in 2019.
- He also said that OnePlus is looking to partner with at least one U.S. wireless carrier to sell OnePlus phones in U.S. stores.
Mobile World Congress 2018 happened back in February, but there’s another MWC going on right now: Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018. At the event, PCMag sat down with OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau to discuss future plans for the company.
The two biggest revelations from the conversation are that OnePlus will release a 5G smartphone in 2019, and that the company is actively pursuing partnerships with at least one United States wireless carrier.
The first point about a 5G smartphone is not too surprising, but this is the first time OnePlus has announced plans for incorporating the new technology into its devices. With 5G service starting to trickle out in 2019, it makes perfect sense that OnePlus would offer a phone that is capable of harnessing 5G speeds.
Lau said that his company’s strong relationship with smartphone chip manufacturer Qualcomm is enabling OnePlus to be one of the first smartphone companies to make and release a 5G phone. The OnePlus 6 features the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.
As for the partnership with a U.S. wireless carrier, Lau did not say which carrier(s) OnePlus is looking to work with. Currently, every OnePlus device from the OnePlus One to the newest OnePlus 6 only works on T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S., so they seem the likely targets. However, it’s feasible that OnePlus’ future phones could work on CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint, if it meant a partnership with those companies.
The bulk of U.S. smartphone shoppers buy their phones direct from their wireless carrier. If OnePlus had devices on store shelves, it would raise the awareness level of the brand to new heights. Currently, U.S. customers must buy OnePlus phones online from various outlets, including OnePlus.com.
However, OnePlus is a Chinese company, and President Donald Trump and his administration have proven over the past year that Chinese companies are less welcome in the United States than ever. This could prove to be a huge hurdle for OnePlus’ ambitions in that regard.
Lau did point out that – should OnePlus snag a wireless carrier deal – OnePlus fans would not have to worry about their devices getting loaded with carrier bloatware. Lau said the core of the company’s philosophy is a “burdenless” experience, and bloatware would go against that policy.