Xiaomi really wants to break into the U.S. mobile market. It would just like to do so on its own terms.
So the phone maker wasn’t pleased when the carrier US Mobile began selling some of its phones at the carrier’s own online store. US Mobile likely struck a deal with a third-party distributor to acquire the inventory.
But that didn’t sit well with Xiaomi, who through a spokesperson told the International Business Times that the phone maker has “no plans” to sell its devices through carriers or other retailers.
After Xiaomi called US Mobile to the carpet, the carrier since backed off and removed the phones from its online marketplace. The sale had another oddity: they don’t work with T-Mobile’s LTE bands, which US Mobile uses for service.
This incident could end up helping Xiaomi, as it shows there’s at least some interest for its brand of low-cost devices here.
The story behind the story: Xiaomi currently sells its phones to a few countries in Asia, South America, and most recently Saudi Arabia. The company has taken a community-based approach to its marketing, referring to its customers as fans and listening regularly to feedback. But the U.S. market is crowded, particularly with so many companies trying to eek out margins with Android phones. Xiaomi clearly wants in, but it’s yet to reveal what that strategy will look like.