The Essential Phone will launch as a carrier exclusive for Sprint in the US. There has yet to be an announcement of the cost when purchased through the carrier, but if Sprint wants to draw in new customers, it’s likely going to be available for a fraction of its $699 unlocked price tag.
For such a high-profile release, the partnership here is surprising. AT&T is the more likely choice, given its large customer base and the GSM network protocol it utilizes, which means that its phones are usually more friendly across borders internationally.
A look behind the scenes, thanks to , reveals that the move isn’t really that surprising after all. Andy Rubin, the co-founder of Android and the brains behind Essential itself is an advisor to one of Sprint’s largest investors, which has in turn also invested a lot into his company.
It’s hard to say if Essential Phone will be a timed exclusive for Sprint or if it will be a permanent feather in the cap of one of the US’ smallest major carriers. Needless to say, we’ll be paying close attention to the carrier space for any movement when the phone releases this month.