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OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro will eventually work on Verizon's 5G network — just not at launch

OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 9 Pro
OnePlus 9 vs. OnePlus 9 Pro (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 9 is now official, delivering big upgrades over its predecessor. Then there's the OnePlus 9 Pro, which delivers one of the best cameras on any phone today. Pre-orders are now live, and both phones will be up for sale in the U.S. starting April 2.

While there's plenty to like in the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro, the phones are limited in one area: 5G connectivity. Both phones will only work on T-Mobile's 5G network in the U.S. at launch — even if you buy the unlocked versions. The OnePlus 9 Pro has N1, 2, 3, 7, 25, 28, 41, 66, 71, 78 bands for Sub-6 and even comes with the requisite mmWave connectivity for Verizon — N258, 260, 261 — but the phone will not work on the carrier's 5G network.

The regular OnePlus 9 misses out on mmWave, but it has plenty of Sub-6 bands: N1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 25, 28, 38, 40, 41, 48, 66, 71, 77, 78. So what's going on here? OnePlus says that the devices have been certified for T-Mobile at launch, so you can only use it on the carrier's 5G networks or any MVNO that uses T-Mobile's 5G, like Google Fi.

OnePlus has clarified that the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro will work on Verizon's 5G network at some point:

At launch, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro will be compatible with Verizon's 4G LTE network. OnePlus continues to work with Verizon to certify both the 9 and 9 Pro on its 5G network. An update will be provided at a later date.Verizon and OnePlus remain strategic partners and look forward to future launches. The OnePlus 8 5G UW will continue to be sold and supported via Verizon.

With the OnePlus 9 only offering Sub-6 5G connectivity, it is possible that we'll see a Verizon SKU with mmWave 5G bands — just like last year's OnePlus 8 UW. So if you're in the U.S. and eyeing either phone, know that 5G connectivity is limited to T-Mobile and its associated MVNOs for the time being. It's bizarre that OnePlus hasn't sorted this out before launch, but that was the case last year as well with the OnePlus 8 series.

That said, mainstream 5G service has come a long way in the last 12 months in the U.S., with all three carriers now offering connectivity in major cities. So for OnePlus to include mmWave bands and not offer Verizon 5G compatibility at launch is poor showing. Hopefully this will be fixed sooner than later.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.