The Essential phone by the father of Android, Andy Rubin, got unveiled today. It costs $699 and is designed to work with four major US carriers - Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. The brand's official website claims that “unlocked Essential Phones bought on Essential.com will work with any carrier.”
In contrast to what the company is claims, there seem to be some barriers for “advanced network” features on the Essential phone. Many carriers have not yet confirmed how well their network would respond to the advanced network features like HD voice, built-in video calling, and more on the Essential phone. A report by the Verge says that the carrier performance on Essential might not match the level of network-certified smartphones on the market. The publication reached out to the carriers to know about their support for the device.
Here's what Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile said:
A spokesperson from Verizon told the Verge that, “While the phone might work on Verizon, we can't promise the same experience and quality of service as devices that have been tested and approved for use on our network.”
T-Mobile confirmed the compatibility of the Essential phone on its network, the company said,“We’re excited for Andy Rubin and his team (the device looks amazing), and welcome customers purchasing Essential to bring it to the fastest and most advanced 4G LTE network in the country through our BYOD program. We’ll have more to share closer to general availability in terms of what advanced network features might be available in Essential.”
Sprint also responded to the query and told the Verge that,“Essential’s debut smartphone will operate on our network. More specific information will be provided at a later date.”
The creators behind Essential have been posting on Twitter about widening the availability of Essential Phone. The company executives said in a statement that they are not planning a large-scale production for the phone yet. A new company has its own set of limitations.
Universal carrier support for the new brands is not a cakewalk. The OnePlus 3T only work on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, not on Verizon and Sprint. On the other hand, big players like iPhone, LG G6, and Motorola G5 can be purchased unlocked, and they still work perfectly on all the four dominant carriers in the US.