Essential Phone will be a Sprint exclusive

Randall Craig
June 12, 2017

After months of (unwarranted) teasing, the high-end Android flagship from Andy Rubin's Essential Products startup - called simply Essential Phone - finally made its long-awaited debut not too long ago.

This means that, if you're the type that only buys your phones through a carrier's retail channels, you'll have to go through Sprint to get the new Android device. AT&T is the more likely choice, given its large customer base and the GSM network protocol it utilizes, which means that its phones are usually more friendly across borders internationally. You can take unlocked models of the device to other carriers and the Essential Phone will work fine since it includes all necessary bands. It is being reported that the Essential Phone will launch as a carrier-exclusive for fourth-place usa wireless carrier Sprint.

Sprint firmly trails the other three major carriers in the US - Verizon, AT&T, and the surging T-Mobile - in terms of total subscribers, so Essential's decision to side with the carrier seems questionable on the surface. The carrier variant will also be available from U.S. Best Buy stores and via the retailer's website as well.

One thing worth pointing out is that Andy Rubin is a good friend of Masayoshi Son, who is the CEO of SoftBank.

Sprint, once considered the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier behind Verizon and AT&T, now trails behind T-Mobile as the fourth largest player.

Essential is spinning the Sprint partnership in a positive light.

CNBC reached out to Essential for comment but a spokesperson was not immediately available.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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