Surprise: a OnePlus 5G phone may come to the US after all with Sprint

OnePlus phone on the Sprint network
(Image credit: Sprint)

While Sprint has been slower to roll out its 5G network compared to other American carriers, the company has signed on to support a device that its competition doesn’t have in the US: a OnePlus 5G phone.

Sprint didn’t name the handset, nor confirm when it would be usable on Sprint’s 5G network. It’s entirely possible this could be an as-yet unannounced handset from OnePlus, but given the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G has already been circulated to UK media - and thus, somewhat ready for the public - that particular phone is likely.

The OnePlus 7 Pro elevated the series into even more serious flagship territory, and the 5G version is even more promising. It beat out leading 5G phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the LG V50, and the Oppo Reno 5G in a recent speed test. That was on UK networks, but the point remains - it looks to be a contender.

While all the other carriers support the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G on their nascent 5G networks, Sprint’s OnePlus deal widen will its fleet of available devices - and given OnePlus’ practices, we assume it will be a cheaper phone than Samsung’s. 

A good get for Sprint - and OnePlus

Of course, this is also good news for OnePlus, a Chinese phonemaker that’s managed to get a bit more success breaking into the US market than its peers Huawei and Xiaomi. Of the three, OnePlus is the only one to have phones supported by a US carrier - but only one as of today: T-Mobile. 

T-Mobile signed on to carry the OnePlus 6T in late 2018, and followed up to carry the OnePlus 7 Pro. Those are obviously 4G LTE (non-5G handsets), but Sprint’s move to widen its roster of 5G phones is a promising inroad that could lead the carrier to pick it up. 

Of course, it might be a moot point if the long-awaited T-Mobile-Sprint merger is approved. 

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.