It’s a good day for consumers, who will soon be able to buy the OnePlus 3 on the high-street. A phone that many people have probably never even heard of.
Plenty of bloggers and the tech press have raved about OnePlus since the company launched with the iconic OnePlus One back in 2014, but it never got much attention outside the ‘tech bubble’ we’re all part of.
Or at least it didn’t get attention for the right reason, as one thing that did get talked about a lot was the questionable retail strategy based on invites. A lesson taken from Eric Cartman’s book of marketing, based on the ‘you can’t come’ strategy that made people go nuts trying to ‘get in’. (Okay, so I’m not quite serious about that.)
The ‘2016 Flagship Killer‘ arrived in the form of the OnePlus 2 in July 2015, and the lack of NFC – thus no Android Pay support – had many, myself included, wonder if it could really be considered be a flagship phone at all, let alone a killer of the others. There was also the OnePlus X, which had similar concerns raised.
By the end of last year, the invite system was axed and this year OnePlus learned from its mistakes and brought out the OnePlus 3 with many improvements, including an innovative fast charging system that is considered unrivalled within the phone industry.
Yet, it still remained a product sold primarily to those ‘in the know’.
But today O2 has announced the phone will be made available to a whole new audience from the 29th September. This means the OnePlus 3 will be available through O2 retail stores, as well as the O2 website.
Customers will be able to buy the phone on a range of Refresh tariffs, with prices starting at £28 per month with no upfront payment.
O2 Refresh allows early upgrading by paying off the remaining cost of the phone, as well as rewarding those that keep their phone beyond 24 months by reducing the overall monthly cost, instead of needlessly paying an inflated rental charge.
A new way of thinking from O2?
In years gone by, I remember O2 being late to the party on loads of phone releases. During my time working alongside a trade newspaper, it was well known that O2’s device procurement team were usually last to take on any new phone, having seemingly waited to see what the other networks were doing first – then ending up at the back of the queue.
O2 was often ‘late to the party’ by weeks, or even months, and in some cases never released the phone at all. Yes, okay, so it got the iPhone first – but that was almost an exception to the rule.
Thankfully those days are long over, but now it’s great to see that O2 is actually taking a risk by going beyond the mainstream.
Earlier this year O2 took on the Huawei P9, and in conjunction with the manufacturer, gave customers a decent sized space in stores to let customers play around with the phone and try out the unique features.
Good news for all
Seeing a new generation of phones being made available to the masses is fantastic news for consumers, who can once again enjoy affordable, high-spec, phones at decent prices.
Samsung has decided to go for the upper end of the market, Sony is still aiming its sights high, while Apple has seemingly lost the plot by almost charging £1000 for one of its models (maybe in 2017 it will reach that figure).
No longer are these phones only for tech nerds to buy and enjoy. That has to be a good thing.
So, well done OnePlus, and well done O2. I hope this is the start of a new trend that will improve handset choice, and give networks an opportunity to make money from a new generation of more discerning customers.
More info: O2 OnePlus 3 info & tariffs