The 5G OnePlus 7 Pro Finally Launches in the US on Sprint


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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. 

5g-spectrum

5G is being deployed in two distinct sets of spectrum, with very different characteristics.

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.

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Week in Review: Regulation boogaloo – gpgmail


Hello, weekenders. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on gpgmail this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure.

Last week, I talked about how services like Instagram had moved beyond letting their algorithms take over the curation process as they tested minimizing key user metrics such as “like” counts on the platform.


John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The big story

The big news stories this week intimately involved the government poking its head into the tech industry. What was clear between the two biggest stories, the DoJ approving the Sprint/T -Mobile merger and the FTC giving Facebook a $5 billion slap on the wrist, is that big tech has little to worry about its inertia being contained.

It seems the argument from Spring and T-Mobile that it was better to have three big telecom companies in the U.S. rather than two contenders and two pretenders, seems to have stuck. Similarly, Facebook seems to have done a worthy job of indicating that it will handle the complicated privacy stuff but that they’ll let the government orgs see what they’re up to.

Fundamentally, none of these orgs seem to want to harm the growth of these American tech companies and I have a tough time believing that perspective is going to magically get more toothy in some of these early antitrust investigations. The government might be making a more concerted effort to understand how these businesses are structured, but even focusing solely on something like the cloud businesses of Microsoft, Google and Amazon, I have little doubt that the government is going to spend an awfully long time in the observation phase.

The danger is erraticism and for that the worst government fear for tech isn’t a three-letter agency, it’s the Twitter ramblings of POTUS.

Onto the rest of the week’s news.

Intel and Apple logos

(Photo: ALASTAIR PIKE,THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context:

  • Apple dropping $1 billion on Intel’s modem business
    Apple is snapping up a missing link in its in-house component production with the $1B purchase of most of Intel’s modem business. This follows a dramatic saga between Intel, Qualcomm and Apple over the past year, but Apple will be making its own smartphone modems the question is when they actually end up in new iPhones. Read more here.
  • Microsoft dropping $1 billion on OpenAI
    Microsoft announced this week that it is dumping $1 billion into Sam Altman’s OpenAI research group. The partnership is pretty major, but it’s just one of the interesting avenues Microsoft is using to ensure its Azure services gain notable customers. Read more here.
  • Galaxy Fold is coming back!
    After a very embarrassing soft launch, Samsung which managed to make it a several devices beyond the Note 7 before another garbage fire is trying its hand at the Galaxy Fold again and will be releasing it sometime in September. It seems like the carriers are a little dubious of the prospect and T-Mobile has already opted out of carrying it. Read more here.

darkened facebook logo

GAFA Gaffes [Facebook Edition!!]

How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of badness:

  1. Facebook gets five:
    [Facebook settles with FTC: $5 billion and new privacy guarantees]
  2. FTC isn’t quite done with Facebook:
    [Facebook says it’s under antitrust investigation by the FTC]
  3. Facebook dismissed CA warnings:
    [Facebook ignored staff warnings about sketchy Cambridge Analytica in September 2015]
  4. Facebook left kids vulnerable:
    [Facebook fails to keep Messenger Kids safety promise]

Extra Crunch

Our premium subscription service had another week of interesting deep dives. This week, my colleague Danny spoke with some top VCs about why fintech startups have been raising massive amounts of cash and he seemed to walk away with some interesting impressions.

“…The biggest challenge that has faced fintech companies for years — really, the industry’s consistent Achilles’ heel — is the cost of acquiring a customer. Financial customer relationships are incredibly valuable, and the cost of acquiring a user for any product is among the most expensive in every major channel.

And those costs are going up…”

Here are some of our other top reads for premium subscribers.

We’re excited to announce The Station, a new gpgmail newsletter all about mobility. Each week, in addition to curating the biggest transportation news, Kirsten Korosec will provide analysis, original reporting and insider tips. Sign up here to get The Station in your inbox beginning in August.


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The T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Finally Has Federal Approval


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T-Mobile and Sprint announced their intention to merge more than a year ago, but the behind-the-scenes legal wrangling delayed the federal approval. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) got on-board with the deal months ago, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) was more skeptical. The carriers have now agreed to terms with the DOJ that allow the merger to move forward. 

While the deal is billed as a merger, T-Mobile plans to swallow up the smaller carrier completely. The Sprint brand will go away, and the new carrier will simply be known as “T-Mobile.” The sticking point for the DOJ was the loss of a fourth wireless carrier in the US. Even those in favor of the deal had to admit that dropping to three US carriers had the potential to limit competition and raise prices. Although, T-Mobile and Sprint disagreed. The solution was a deal with Dish, which has been a sideline player in mobile for years. 

As part of the merger, Sprint and T-Mobile will sell assets including 800MHz spectrum and the Boost Mobile prepaid carrier to Dish. While its main business is still satellite TV, Dish has purchased massive swaths of wireless spectrum in recent years — it has almost as much spectrum as the pre-merger T-Mobile, but it doesn’t have a wireless network. The assets from this deal theoretically allow Dish to become a fourth carrier. The new T-Mobile has agreed to give Dish access to its network for the next few years while it builds out a 5G network, but it seems like Dish would prefer just to get acquired by another company. 

A 5G millimeter wave cell site in Minneapolis on a light pole.

Getting federal approval for the merger is a major win for T-Mobile, even with the forced divestments to Dish. Sprint has struggled to compete in the 4G era, thanks in large part to its failed bet on WiMAX as the standard. It never caught up in LTE, but it’s well-positioned for 5G thanks to its massive block of mid-band spectrum. No other US carrier has that, which is why AT&T and Verizon are pushing millimeter-wave 5G so hard. 

There are still several outstanding state lawsuits blocking the deal, but several have already been dropped alongside the DOJ approval. It’s unlikely the remaining suits will last long. We expect news about how the merger will proceed in the coming months, but it will take years to fully integrate the T-Mobile and Sprint networks.

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Google says it doubled Pixel sales year-over-year – gpgmail


It looks like the mid-range Pixel 3a is the hit Google surely hoped it would be.

Alphabet reported some pretty good earnings today, but the company’s report tends to be pretty generic, given that it doesn’t provide details for its different business units inside of Google and its other segments. That’s not to say there isn’t good news there for Google. On today’s call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai shared some new stats for the company’s phone line.

“With the launch of Pixel 3a in May, overall Pixel unit sales in Q2 grew more than 2x year-over-year,” Pichai announced. Part of this growth, he noted, is due to Google greatly expanded its distribution network beyond its own store and Verizon to also include T Mobile, Sprint, US Cellular, Spectrum Mobile and others. He also stressed that the Pixel 3a received Google’s highest Net Promotor Score rating yet.

We don’t, of course, know, what the baseline for Pichai’s claim here is, since Google never shared any actual sales numbers, but it surely helps that the Pixel 3a is relatively affordable and compares well to flagship phones without any major trade-offs. When it launched, reviews were generally very positive, too, which surely helped as well. Unlike previous Pixel launches, the first batch of Pixel 3a phones also didn’t face any major hardware problems, something that regularly plagued Google’s earlier efforts.



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