OnePlus has gotten where it is by selling unlocked phones directly to consumers at a rapid pace. The sub-$500 OnePlus 5 was only out for around five months before the 5T usurped it. Now, OnePlus is looking into potential carrier deals in the US to move future phones in larger numbers. Speaking of future phones, OnePlus confirms a new phone is coming in a few months.
Selling phones through carriers is still the best way to gain traction in the US. This is something Huawei knows well, which is why the collapse of its AT&T deal was such a blow. CEO Pete Lau says OnePlus will begin talks with US carriers this year, but it's unclear how long it would take to hammer out the details. OnePlus has good momentum right now with the OnePlus 5T, which has sold at a brisk pace since its launch late last year. However, the sales volume it would see through a carrier is much higher. It might take time to get manufacturing and supply lines in place.
The supposed carrier deals probably won't materialize in time to affect OnePlus' next device. According to Lau, that phone will launch in late Q2 of this year. So, we're looking at a May or June announcement, most likely. Lau didn't confirm a name, but it's safe to assume it will be the OnePlus 6. The phone will run the new Snapdragon 845, though. As if that was ever in doubt.