The Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi is making inroads into the US mobile phone market by collaborating with the wireless mobile carriers. Unlike countries like India, in the western countries, most of the smartphones are purchased through wireless mobile carriers. It would be like, getting your next mobile phone from Airtel or Idea Cellular rather than straight away from Flipkart or an electronics shop. The Sim cards are embedded into the mobile phones like the iPhone and therefore if you need to use another Sim card (for example, people needed to import their iPhones when they were not directly available) you first need to “jailbreak” your smartphone, that is, get the existing Sim card off it.
But it’s a huge market in the US and besides, people in the US are accustomed to getting their mobile phone handsets from their wireless mobile carriers because this way, even high-end mobile phones become quite affordable. If Xiaomi can sell its smartphones in the US through wireless mobile phone carriers it will get access to a huge market looking for non-Apple and these days, even non-Samsung smartphones. In the beginning, Xiaomi may start offering its Mi 5 range of smartphones. The company has started network testing in the US.
The Xiaomi smartphones may be available in the US through wireless mobile carriers somewhere around in 2017, but in this Engadget interview, the Xiaomi Global Vice President Hugo Barra says that it is not final when the company is going to provide its smartphones in the US through wireless mobile carriers. The company will need to test compatibility issues with the US wireless mobile carriers because they use different bands for voice and mobile data communications.
With Samsung being plagued by Samsung Galaxy Note 7 series of smartphones Xiaomi is going to make use of this opportunity to fill the vacuum.