A few weeks ago OnePlus announced a slew of UK retail partners that would be carrying the OnePlus 6T. Noticeably it included EE and Vodafone, alongside O2 which has had exclusivity for the past few years. Three was not among them, but guess who showed up on screen during OnePlus's launch event?
Look in the bottom left-hand corner if you can't see what I'm on about. It's a logo for Three, the one member of the 'Big Four' that wasn't announced as a retail partner. What's up with that?
There are two probably explanations here. The first is that Three will be stocking the OnePlus 6T, whether that's here or one of the other countries where the brand operates. The second is that OnePlus is simply showing off which networks its new phone will work on. After all, it has exclusive retail partnership with T-Mobile in the US, but this slide includes rival networks AT&T and Verizon. US mobile infrastructure is apparently different to ours, and simply having an unlocked phone doesn't mean it's compatible with every network - that's why US media outlets have been making a big deal of OnePlus collaborating with Verizon to ensure compatibility.
The only way to find out was to ask Three, and a spokesperson confirmed that it will be stocking OnePlus products eventually. Apparently it won't be happening until "early next year", and couldn't confirm if this meant the OnePlus 6T. But what would it be if not the OnePlus 6T? Well, the most obvious explanation is that Three could be selling off surplus stock, much like Amazon has just begun doing with the OnePlus 6. It could also be that Three will end up stocking the OnePlus 7 when that arrives in around six months time, as far off as that may seem.
Another possible explanation is that it could tie into the mysterious January event OnePlus has been teasing. While this is pure speculation, it could explain why Three has to keep the details under wraps. What could that event be? January is bit too early for the OnePlus 7, though there's always the chance it has something to do with the company's 5G ambitions.
We're just going to have to wait and see what happens. More as and when we learn it.