With OnePlus 6T, OnePlus eyes the iPhone-dominated US market
After dominating India’s premium smartphone segment, OnePlus is increasing its presence in important markets like the US and Europe. OnePlus 6T now holds the key for OnePlus’ global aspirations.
OnePlus is one of the top players in the premium ( ₹30,000 above) segment in India. Thanks to the popularity of its affordable flagship phones, OnePlus has even managed to dent Apple's share in India. With OnePlus 6T, OnePlus is now looking to the take the battle with Apple on the latter's home turf.
OnePlus earlier this year chose London as the global launch venue for OnePlus 6. The company also announced opening pop-up stores in the US and parts of Europe - a move aimed at expanding OnePlus's presence in newer markets. For OnePlus 6T, OnePlus will be holding an event in the US.
Ahead of the launch, OnePlus pulled off another publicity stunt by changing the OnePlus 6 launch date to October 29 from the original October 30. The company blamed Apple's October 30 event for change.
"A lot has changed in the past 24 hours. When we announced the launch of the OnePlus 6T on October 8, we were convinced that our timing would allow us to maximise the amount of people we could reach with our message. That changed when Apple announced they would be hosting their own event on October 30," wrote CEO Pete Lau in a blog post.
"We couldn't make this decision on our own. For hours, we talked to our press contacts to gain insight into how Apple's announcement could affect the launch of the OnePlus 6T. We received considered, honest and thoughtful feedback. They showed us that if we chose to stick to our original timeline, launching the OnePlus 6T on October 30, we would be overshadowed by Apple," he said.
OnePlus isn't only relying on marketing stunts to gain traction in the US. The company is said to be working with one of the top local telecom players Verizon for OnePlus 6T. According to a PCMag report, OnePlus 6T will add support for Verizon. The phone is expected to come with LTE Band 13 which is believed to be "crucial" for Verizon network.
Apart from adding support for one of the main local network, OnePlus is also said to launch OnePlus 6T with iPhone-like carrier deals. The carrier bundling will allow OnePlus to offer OnePlus 6T at more affordable and attractive prices in the US. An earlier report had claimed OnePlus 6T will launch with T-Mobile and will have optimised radios for the network.
OnePlus is reported to be working on similar deals with EE and Vodafone, top two telecom players in the UK.
That said, OnePlus faces a daunting task in the fight with Apple in the US. According to a Counterpoint report, Apple had 40% of market share in the second quarter of 2018. Samsung followed at the second spot with 25% share. LG, Motorola and others combined have 35% share.
Globally, OnePlus doesn't figure in the top five smartphone players' table. A separate Counterpoint report, however, noted that OnePlus was among the key fast-growing brands for the Q2, 2018.