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OnePlus 6T line at T-Mobile was longer than iPhone line



OP6T T mobile lineAntonio Villas-Boas/Business

  • There was a larger line of people waiting to buy the new
    OnePlus 6T smartphone outside of T-Mobile’s flagship Times Square
    store in New York City than there was for the new iPhones.
  • The OnePlus 6T is the first OnePlus phone that is sold by a
    carrier in the US.
  • T-Mobile is offering a trade-in deal where anyone can
    trade-in their eligible smartphones for a $300 credit towards the
    new $580 model of the OnePlus 6T.
  • That means the OnePlus 6T could cost a mere $280 for those
    who took advantage of T-Mobile’s trade-in deal. 

At the OnePlus event on Monday, the company announced some big
news: You’ll be able to buy the new OnePlus 6T smartphone at a US
carrier store. 

If you’re unfamiliar with OnePlus phones, the latest OnePlus 6T
comes with high-end design, specs, and performance that costs
under $600, compared to other top, similarly specced smartphones,
which can cost above $800.

Indeed, the OnePlus 6T is available to buy from T-Mobile stores
nationwide and online starting November 1, making it the first
smartphone from OnePlus that’s sold in a US carrier store. It’s a
big deal for OnePlus to make its mark in the US market, as a
smartphone’s popularity usually relies almost entirely on whether
or not it’s available from a carrier.

OnePlus fans in and around New York City got a bit of a treat on
Monday: they could buy the new $580 model of the OnePlus 6T at
T-Mobile’s flagship store in Times Square, three days before the
smartphone’s official release. And to top things off,
T-Mobile offered prospective OnePlus buyers the option to trade
in their old smartphone for a $300 credit towards the OnePlus 6T,
a deal that will end in about a month. 

With the trade-in deal, a smartphones user could snag the OnePlus
6T for $280. To be clear, it’s possibly the best value in a
smartphone in recent memory — and judging by the crowd of people
outside T-Mobile’s store at 5 p.m. on Monday, I certainly wasn’t
the only one who noticed.

The screen on the new
OnePlus 6T.

Villas-Boas/Business Insider

‘I’ve never seen anything like this’

On Monday, T-Mobile’s flagship store in Times Square saw a larger
crowd of people waiting to buy the OnePlus 6T than it did for the
new iPhones, a T-Mobile employee told me at the store on Monday.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” the employee said.

The same goes for other Android phones from major companies like
Samsung and LG, too.

Now, to be fair and accurate, new iPhones are available to buy
from numerous Apple stores dotted around the city, as well as
nearly every carrier store. It’s safe to say that lines of people
waiting to buy the new iPhones are diluted across several stores
around the city. If the new iPhones were being sold at a single
store like the OnePlus 6T was, it’s likely that the city would
need to shut down several blocks, perhaps even a district or two.

Still, a plucky smartphone company that’s significantly smaller
than Apple, as well as the biggest Android players like Samsung
and LG, gave T-Mobile’s flagship New York City store the biggest
line in recent memory. 

oneplus 6t back
The back of the new
OnePlus 6T.

Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The popularity of the brand is growing to the extent that budding
content creators are starting dedicated YouTube channels to talk
about OnePlus devices, much like the numerous brand-centric
YouTubers that already exist for Apple and Samsung devices. Watch
out for the “OnePlus Hype” YouTube channel when it launches,
whose creator was waiting in line to buy the new devices.

Others in line skipped “optional” exams and work to get in line
at the Times Square T-Mobile store, some of whom waited for three
hours by the time I spoke with them at around 5:15 p.m. One man
originally from India skipped classes at Northeastern University
in Boston to travel to New York City to get the new OnePlus 6T.
His professor supposedly understood.

One of those in line to buy the new OnePlus 6T was on vacation in
New York City from Bogota, Colombia. One of checklist items for
the Colombian traveler during her stay was to get the now-older
OnePlus 6 because her boyfriend has the OnePlus 5T and she liked
it, noting its comparatively low price tag as the main draw. “But
then I heard that they launched the 6T,” she told me, and the
rest was history. By the time this post is published, she likely
owns the latest OnePlus smartphone before the majority of OnePlus
buyers. Her boyfriend was not in line as he was studying, she
told me.

One man owned the most recent Google smartphone that was released
just a few weeks ago, the Pixel 3, which isn’t eligible for
T-Mobile’s trade-in offer. He was unphased about buying the
OnePlus 6T for the full $580 asking price. For reference, the
Pixel 3 costs a minimum of $800, at least $220 more than the
OnePlus 6T at T-Mobile. He was accompanied by his fiancée, whom
he had just proposed to hours earlier after the OnePlus keynote
with the help of OnePlus representatives and OnePlus co-founder
Carl Pei himself. She was wearing a hat with OnePlus’ slogan
“Never Settle,” which seemed appropriate.

Another man who’s on the Verizon network was accompanying his
friends in line and said he’s finally able to buy a OnePlus phone
now that the OnePlus 6T is compatible with Verizon’s network. It
wasn’t clear if he was switching to T-Mobile to buy the new
OnePlus 6T, but he said that he’s always wanted a OnePlus phone
and couldn’t buy one in the past because previous OnePlus phones
weren’t compatible with Verizon’s network. 

oneplus tmobile event pete lau
OnePlus founder Pete Lau
takes selfies with fans at the Times Square T-Mobile

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business

Overall, those in line referenced the quality, software, design,
feature-set, and high-end specs for the comparatively low price
of OnePlus devices as the main driving factors behind their
OnePlus fandom.

But the one single element that nearly everyone mentioned was
“community.” OnePlus fans seemingly have a closer connection with
the company behind their mobile device, possibly the most
important device in their day-to-day lives. There’s constant
communication between OnePlus and its fans, with tweets and blog
posts often addressing fans as “friends.” 

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