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Less than a day after OnePlus announced it was making its flagship One smartphone available for anyone to buy without an invite, the China-based manufacturer has revealed its first ever tie-up with a mobile carrier.
Indeed, today’s news sees OnePlus launch its phone in Malaysia for the first time, and to mark the occasion the company has inked an exclusive deal with Maxis Communications, one of the biggest telecom companies in Malaysia and the first to bring 4G LTE to the country. The launch in Malaysia is notable for another reason too — this is the first time the OnePlus One phone has ever been made available to buy in-store.
OnePlus has grabbed a lot of headlines over the past 18 months for the One, which is basically a high-spec/low-price Android phone that costs $299/$349 (16GB/64GB) — available to buy only in some countries and only through the OnePlus website. It hasn’t always been easy to procure one in its official launch countries either, given that OnePlus has mostly used an invite-only system — a system that it ditched fully yesterday.
It’s been interesting to observe the evolution of OnePlus since its inception in 2013 and the phone’s eventual launch in spring 2014. In March 2015, the OnePlus One was made available for sale across the whole of the European Union, taking its total launch markets to more than 30. And recently, it launched its own Android Lollipop-based ROM called OxygenOS, which represents part of its longer-term plan to move away from CyanogenMod.
The latest move from the company may only be in a single market, but it signals how the company is striving to take its phone to the masses. By introducing carrier partnerships and taking the device onto physical store shelves, it’s pushing hard to shake off its feisty underdog reputation.
“As we grow, it is increasingly important to work with the right partners who will provide the best experience for our users,” explains OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei.
One of the benefits of having an in-store presence will be that customers who experience difficulties with the device, either through technical glitches or any other issues, can access after-sales services at Maxis’ stores for the first month.
The phone goes on sale in Maxis’ outlets from April 22, with the device available on a contract for RM859 ($235), or unlocked and off-contract for RM1199 ($330).
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