Speaking to a source familiar with the companies' plans, Android Police has learned that the OnePlus 8—the next smartphone from OnePlus—will be launching on Verizon in the United States, and that it will have 5G connectivity on board. That connectivity would likely mean support for Verizon's ultra-fast but ultra-small mmWave network.
This will be the first time a OnePlus phone has been available on Verizon, though the company's handsets have been largely compatible with the carrier for some time, as OnePlus has submitted devices like the OnePlus 7 Pro for certification on the network.
We previously reported that Verizon was planning to launch a OnePlus device in 2020, but were sketchy on the details. We can now be more precise, though some questions do remain. For one, we're only aware of one model of the OnePlus 8 coming to Verizon, and it would appear to be the smaller, non-pro variant, of which renders have already leaked. Renders of the larger OnePlus 8 Pro have also been published, but we have no indication that Verizon intends to sell this version of the phone at this time.
We have a high degree of confidence in our source for this story, and believe that a Verizon version of the OnePlus 8 with 5G connectivity is essentially imminent at this point. We have no indication of what OnePlus' plans are with regard to other US carriers, though I would be surprised if the company's partnership with T-Mobile didn't continue on in 2020 after the launch of the McLaren 5G version of the OnePlus 7T Pro.
No information about pricing or an exact release date was available. We can state with a high degree of confidence that this phone will be fully Verizonified, meaning the carrier's suite of preloaded apps and functionality like Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE, and other Verizon network features should all be supported out of the box.
This is a big deal for OnePlus' US market ambitions. While T-Mobile has proven an effective jumping-off point for a larger presence in the US smartphone market, AT&T and Verizon still hold the keys to the large majority of American post-paid wireless subscribers. Those subscribers overwhelmingly purchase their smartphone from their carrier, meaning that even if a phone is compatible with that carrier, it's unlikely to see significant traction unless that carrier also sells it. If Verizon is willing to get on board with OnePlus, that also gives OnePlus more leverage with other operators, and potentially access to Verizon's rapidly-growing don't-call-it-an-MVNO Visible.
Still, as Google's Pixel has shown, getting inside those carrier stores is only half the battle. OnePlus will need Verizon's help to market its phones, and Verizon retail employees will have to be incentivized to sell them. In a market where most consumers are paying off their smartphones on two-year payment plans, OnePlus' lower MSRPs give it much less of an edge than in the world of unlocked sales. American customers don't see a phone's retail price, they see their monthly bill. If a OnePlus phone costs $22 a month to an iPhone's $37, that's a mere $15 difference, not the hundreds that a sticker price comparison would yield. The numbers all work out the same in the end, but the psychology is decidedly different.
All things considered, though, things just seem to keep looking up for OnePlus. We'll let you know more as learn it.