Chinese handset maker OnePlus will join the growing roster of handset makers rolling out their 5G smartphones with a flagship device next year, featuring the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform. Speaking at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said the company would have the first flagship smartphone to feature the Snapdragon 855 that will be rolled out next year in Europe in partnership with telecom operator, EE. Lau did not share any more details of the planned device, but said: “we know that the 855 is the most powerful chipset, it is definitely the one and only choice for our phone”.
However, it remains to be seen whether the 5G handset will make its way to India, which is a key market for OnePlus. 5G services — which promise to bring in faster data speeds for users — are expected to be rolled out in the US, parts of Europe, South Korea, China and Australia in 2019.
In India, such a rollout would happen after spectrum auction. While the Indian government is yet to announce a specific timeline, the industry wants spectrum auction to be held in the latter part of 2019.
The Indian government is also upbeat on 5G deployment in the country with Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha recently saying that India “cannot afford to miss the 5G bus”. Apart from higher internet speed, the advent of the fifth generation of wireless system or 5G will also enable massive internet of things (IoT) deployment that would significantly impact sectors like manufacturing, retail, education and healthcare, among others.
Samsung had on Tuesday said it expects to bring its first flagship 5G smartphone to the US in the first half of 2019 that will use the Snapdragon 855 mobile platform with the 5G X50 modem. Lau said OnePlus has also been collaborating with Qualcomm for 5G since 2017. “We are thrilled by its powerful performance and 5G capabilities. OnePlus will continue to bring its users the best technology and the best user experience possible,” he added.
Citing a report by research firm Counterpoint, Lau said OnePlus held a 30% share in the premium category (Rs 30,000 and above) in India during the July-September 2018 quarter, taking the top spot for two consecutive quarters ahead of rivals, Samsung and Apple. He pointed out that including OnePlus, the premium smartphone market in India grew by 44% in the first half of 2018.
However, minus OnePlus numbers, the premium segment shrunk by 12%, reflecting the strong growth being seen by the brand, he added. OnePlus has recently launched its OnePlus 6T handset in India — a key market for the company. In August, Lau had said India accounted for about one-third of OnePlus’ revenues last year and is set to become the second home ground for the company.