OnePlus announced the OnePlus 7 Pro earlier this year, and it was a big step for the company. Not only did this phone sport a pop-up selfie camera an high-refresh display, but it also had an optional 5G radio. However, the 5G variant wasn’t available in the US until now. OnePlus just partnered with Sprint to launch its first 5G phone in the US.
In case you need a refresher, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the latest phone from the Shenzhen-based company and the second with US carrier support. It previously partnered with T-Mobile for the OnePlus 6T and 4G OnePlus 7 Pro. The OnePlus 7 Pro has many of the same features as phones from Samsung and Google that cost hundreds of dollars more. It has a Snapdragon 855, up to 12GB of RAM, and a 6.67-inch OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. Almost the only box it didn’t check was 5G support, and now it has that in the US if you’re on Sprint.
5G in the US is still a mess as carriers scramble to roll out millimeter-wave networks. These signals can transmit a lot of data, which is how Verizon is able to show off speeds of 1 to 2 Gbps on a phone. However, millimeter-wave requires line-of-sight to the transmitter. So, it works in outdoor spaces and large indoor facilities like stadiums that have been outfitted with antennas.
The US is severely lacking in lower frequency mid-band 5G, sometimes called sub-6. In most countries, these frequencies form the backbone of fledgling 5G networks, and that’s what the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G supported at launch. The phone came to several European markets like the UK and Finland. Since then, Sprint has launched a US 5G market using 2.5GHz bands, and that supports the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Unlike many 5G phones, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is identical to the 4G version save for the additional modem inside. You’ll be able to pick up the OnePlus 7 Pro from Sprint in any of the nine markets where it has launched 5G service starting today. However, it’s more expensive than the 4G version you can order from OnePlus or T-Mobile. The 5G phone is $840, or you can lease the phone for $20 per month. The 4G phone starts at $700, and it’s unlocked. Sprint says all its stores will have the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G for sale starting September 6th.
Sprint and T-Mobile are planning for a merger that will see the smaller carrier swallowed up by “The New T-Mobile.” Those mid-band 5G licenses are very important to T-Mobile. It’s unclear how T-Mobile will migrate people to its network, so you might want to exercise caution before buying an expensive new phone on Sprint.