OnePlus 7 Pro 5G for Sprint is the cheapest 5G phone yet

OnePlus’ 7 Pro 5G is coming to Sprint. 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

OnePlus is heading to Sprint, and it’s doing so with a new 5G variant of the 7 Pro it launched earlier this year. The phone, called the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, will be available in “select” Sprint stores on Tuesday before being sold online Wednesday. A nationwide release is set for Sept. 6. 

Available in the same blue finish as the regular 7 Pro, the new phone is largely similar to the one launched on T-Mobile and unlocked in May. Like the original 7 Pro it has a full-screen 6.67-inch display and a popup selfie camera. 

The big difference of course, is that it will support Sprint’s midband 2.5GHz 5G network. At $840, it’s also the most affordable 5G phone from a major carrier. Sprint’s LG V50 ThinQ 5G sells for $1,000 while Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G runs $1,300. 

A special promo will drop the price for a “limited time” to $20 per month for 18 months ($360 total) when purchased on Sprint’s Flex leasing plan. 

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This is the first OnePlus smartphone to ride on Sprint’s network, a testament to the upstart’s expanding presence and reach. The phone-maker made a splash roughly a year ago by launching its flagship OnePlus 6T on T-Mobile, its first US carrier partner. T-Mobile and Sprint are still in the middle of trying to close their $26.5 billion mega-merger

For Sprint, the 7 Pro adds to its growing collection of 5G devices, which include the Galaxy S10 5G, the LG V50 ThinQ and the HTC 5G Hub. 

New 5G cities

Because of the unique properties of its 5G spectrum, Sprint — the fourth-largest carrier in the US, saddled with a reputation for poor service — likely has the widest-reaching 5G network in the US. The company on Tuesday said it expanded its 5G coverage to New York, Phoenix, Washington, DC and Los Angeles. They were part of Sprint’s initial nine 5G cities set to be live before the end of the first half of 2019, but were delayed. 

The other five cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Forth Worth, Houston and the company’s hometown of Kansas City, where its 5G service went live over the last few months. 

With the new launches, Sprint says it now covers close to 11 million people with 5G, including 1.7 million people in New York. While not as fast as the high-frequency millimeter-wave networks run by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, Sprint’s network fares better in warmer weather, works indoors and covers a much larger area. 

In recent tests around New York, Sprint’s network ranged between 100 and 250Mbps. 

Where Sprint goes from here, however, is unknown. No new 5G cities have been announced as the company is in a holding pattern while it awaits clearance for its planned merger with T-Mobile. The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission have both given the $26.5 billion deal their respective OKs, but 16 state attorneys general are currently suing to block it.


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