Can you buy OPPO phones in the US? Here’s what you need to know…
OPPO makes some of the most exciting Android phones we’ve tested in the last 12 months. The OPPO Find X2 Pro is a killer phone that packs in great specs, loads of useful features, and tons of amazing hardware.
And you now have the OPPO Find X3 Pro to consider too.
The company also makes a range of cheaper, more affordable Android handsets inside its Reno brand. And most of them have 5G capabilities too.
But sadly, you cannot buy OPPO phones in the US. At the time of writing, OPPO has no ties with any of the US’ main carriers and the company does not operate a storefront in the USA either, so you cannot use OPPO phones in the US at present.
You can, of course, import an OPPO phone into the USA. But then you have the issue of whether the phone would work with your carrier’s wireless data network. Most phones in the USA are set up for access to the US’ mobile data infrastructure.
If you buy a phone from overseas – an OPPO phone or a Xiaomi phone – it might not be set up correctly for use on US carrier networks and this would mean you would not be able to make calls or browse the web with an LTE connection.
The phone would connect to your home’s WiFi network, of course, but it still wouldn’t be able to join any of the US’ cellar networks, rendering it all but useless as a cellphone.
Will OPPO Phones Ever Come To The US?
Back in 2019, OPPO discussed its plans for expanding its business in the coming years. It said that it is heavily focussed on the UK and other European markets, as well as Japan.
With respect to the USA, OPPO said that the US is the toughest market to break into in the world. The carriers have very specific requirements for ALL phones that run on their networks, and OPPO isn’t ready to commit to this just yet.
That could change in time. But for right now, OPPO is more focused on UK/European markets and Eastern markets like Japan.
Different Views on 5G – And How It Should Work
OPPO also has some pretty hard rules on how it views 5G happening on a global scale. OPPO feels the dominant 5G standard, globally, will be Sub6-GHz while other players – like Qualcomm – believe that mmWave will eventually win out in the end.
And Qualcomm knows a thing or two about 5G – its chipsets power the VAST majority of Android phones in use today. Similarly, Qualcomm predicts that mmWave 5G will come to the UK, China, Europe, and Korea by the close of 2021.
Either way, the US market is going one way and OPPO is going the other. Similar to VHS vs BetaMax, one standard will eventually win out. But since we’re in the very early days of 5G, it is too hard to call right now.
Sub6-GHz vs mmWave – What’s The Difference?
The difference between these two 5G standards is actually pretty complex. But ROOTMETRICS has done a great job of explaining the core differences below:
Lower frequency spectrum, including sub-6 GHz, can travel farther and penetrate solid objects like buildings better than a higher frequency spectrum such as mmWave. In fact, even a user’s hand has been shown to block mmWave signals (though device makers are taking steps to mitigate this). In short, mmWave spectrum doesn’t offer the broad coverage that sub-6 GHz spectrum supports. With mmWave spectrum’s sensitivity to external factors and its smaller coverage areas, the benefits of mmWave (ultra-fast data speeds, for instance) will likely be felt the most in locations where limited coverage isn’t a major concern, such as pockets of densely populated urban areas or in crowded indoor locations like sporting events, airports, or concerts.
Another theory about OPPO’s lack of presence in the US is that the company is trying to avoid competition with OnePlus. Both OPPO and OnePlus are owned by the same company, BBK.
OPPO has denied this claim, however, saying each brand targets different users and demographics. OPPO says OnePlus and OPPO phones can and do exist alongside one another in plenty of markets around the globe, such as the UK and Japan.
My advice? If you want a good value Android phone, pick up the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE – it’s now got a $100 discount applied to it!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.