OnePlus To Initiate Talks With US Carriers, OnePlus 6 Confirmed For Q2

It is fair to say that OnePlus does not have the same brand recognition as Apple or Samsung, to name just two smartphone makers with much bigger footprints. What would help is if OnePlus was able to partner with US wireless carriers to sell its phones through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, though as we have seen, Chinese phone makers face an uphill battle. Be that as it may, OnePlus is willing to go that route, if the opportunity comes along.

"If the right opportunity and right timing come along, we'll be very happy to experiment," Pete Lau, chief executive of OnePlus, told CNET in an interview at CES.

OnePlus 5T

Lau did not say when something like this might happen or if the company is anywhere close to striking a deal. Should OnePlus get close to hammering out a deal, though, it will be interesting to see how the US government reacts. For example, Huawei, a major player in China, was close to partnering with AT&T to sell phones through the wireless carrier. The deal was canceled late in the game, presumably over fears from US Senate and House intelligence committees over potential threats to security.

Whether US intelligence agencies would consider OnePlus as posing the same security threat as Huawei and ZTE is not known, as OnePlus has largely flown under the radar up to this point. The company has built a following among tech savvy Android enthusiasts, but not the general population at large.

Selling phones through a carrier would open up a much wider audience for OnePlus. Analysts estimates that the vast majority of American consumers buy phones through their wireless carrier.

While carrier partnerships remain an unknown, Lau did confirm that work has begun on the OnePlus 6, which will feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC). To Lau, it was an easy decision to run with the latest and greatest mobile chip from Qualcomm. "Of course, there's no other choice," Lau said.

Look for the OnePlus 6 to arrive in the second quarter.