UK mobile network EE will be the first operator in the world to offer OnePlus’ 5G smartphone, starting in Q1 2019.
The news was announced at the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hawaii, along with details of a 5G research partnership between the two companies.
Other announcements from the summit include Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon chip, the 855, which boasts 5G network support among its features. OnePlus, in announcing this handset, is one of the first confirmed manufacturers to use this chip.
Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, has also indicated that 5G phones will be more expensive, this upcoming handset likely $200 - $300 more expensive. This is something of a shame, given that the company is regularly praised for selling its phones at a lower price while keeping flagship features in place.
EE has put great effort and resources into keeping its network at the forefront of mobile progress. Its 4G+ infrastructure is the most advanced in the UK, and it’s been performing small 5G trials in areas like Canary Wharf in London, but plans a larger rollout to 16 large UK cities through 2019. It’s the best placed of any carrier to support a 5G phone launch like OnePlus’.
As for the OnePlus phone itself, there’s no confirmed release date other than it coming in Q1 2019, but given the company’s determination to be the first, and with Samsung and LG also planning 5G phones for next year with US carriers AT&T and Verizon, and Sprint respectively, the threat of not getting its name in the history books first might inspire a very prompt release once the handset’s finalised.