When Andy Rubin officially announced the Essential Phone, there was a question with regards to availability. Given that this is essentially a new player in the market of smartphones, it would be hard to predict where the phone might end up, although major carriers in the US did pretty much confirm that they would support the phone in some capacity.
However if you’re looking for full support, it looks like you’ll have no choice but to go with Sprint. In a report from USA Today, it has been confirmed the Sprint will be the exclusive carrier for the Essential Phone. Speaking to USA Today, Essential President Niccolo de Masi confirmed that Sprint would be their exclusive carrier partner to carry the handset.
As to why they chose Sprint, de Masi was quoted as saying, “We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was. I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.” He also points towards the fact that Rubin has a close relationship with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son (whose company owns 83% of Sprint), and how Rubin also serves as an advisor to the SoftBank Vision Fund.
In terms of pricing, it is unclear how much the handset would cost when released on Sprint, assuming there will be some kind installment plan offered. However the handset itself is priced at $699 where it will be unlocked and where like we said earlier, is also usable on the networks of other carriers.