One-Plus, the leading premium smartphone maker in India, has started exporting 5G smartphones on a pilot basis from the country, a development that aids India’s initiatives to boost local production and exports. This comes at a time when India is lagging many other competitors in deploying next-generation technology.
It is to be noted that both OnePlus and Oppo are part of China’s BBK Electronics group. Vikas Agarwal, head of operations in India for OnePlus reportedly said, “As part of the business focus in India for the coming years, OnePlus is building India as a global export hub for the brand and is already manufacturing 5G devices and exporting to overseas markets, such as North America.”
The development comes after OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei said that the company will evaluate making India its manufacturing hub, provided the quality is high and the cost is competitive. Pei shared that OnePlus has put up enough SMT lines for its projected volumes this year and has started exporting India-made OnePlus 7 Pro devices to the western markets such as the US.
Since its foray in India in 2014, OnePlus has grown rapidly. The company’s smartphones have been attracting major customer attention and have challenged global premium smartphone makers like Samsung and Apple. The company recently launched its latest smartphone model, smart TV, cloud product and introduced OnePlus Pay
OnePlus, which is among the first off the block in launching 5G devices in global markets, is also testing 5G capabilities for carriers in the US and Europe, besides Indian carriers, at its research and development center in Hyderabad.
India is still far off from commercial 5G deployments, with 5G trials yet to begin and spectrum yet to be auctioned. In a recent report, Swedish equipment maker Ericsson said that 5G subscriptions in India will be available only in 2022, against its previous estimate of 2020. India’s telecom industry body COAI doesn’t expect commercial 5G roll-outs for another five years at least, due to exorbitant base prices, insufficient spectrum, and unavailability of newer bands.
In contrast, leading communications service providers in Asia, Australia, Europe, West Asia, and North America switched on their 5G networks earlier this year. South Korea has already seen a big 5G uptake since its April 2019 launch. China’s launch of 5G in late October led to an update of the estimated 5G subscriptions for year-end 2019 to 13 million from 10 million.