US Mobile on Xiaomi phones: we’re just doing what Amazon does

JC Torres - Feb 3, 2016, 4:00 am CST
US Mobile on Xiaomi phones: we’re just doing what Amazon does

Yesterday, there was news that almost delighted Xiaomi fans in the US. Almost. A carrier, who you may or may not have heard before, that rode on T-Mobile’s network, started offering Xiaomi and Meizu smartphones. Suddenly, the Internet was ablaze with two pieces of news, in rapid succession. First was the unexpected, and totally unannounced arrival of Xiaomi phones in the US. And the other was to point out that it was not legit at all. Now both Xiaomi and US Mobile are putting in their two cents each.

For Xiaomi, the case is simple. It hasn’t made an official entry in the US smartphone market. Its only official products are accessories and toys, nothing more. In its official, and maybe legal, opinion, US Mobile is not authorized to sell its products in the US.

The carrier is taking issue with that last part. Taken at face value, it would imply that neither are Amazon, Ebay, nor any other US-based retailers authorized to sell Xiaomi’s products, which we do see isn’t the case. At least until Xiaomi decides to block these devices by any means necessary, which would probably be PR suicide for it. To that end, US Mobile is conducting business just like those, that is, selling products in the US purchased else where.

US Mobile’s counter argument almost has appeal. Unlike a product bought off Amazon or Ebay, a Xioami smartphone from the carrier would come with, at the very least, customer support guarantees. It probably doesn’t, however, come with quality guarantees, as US Mobile itself simply gets the devices from a distributor based in Hong Kong. The carrier says it never claimed it was an official Xiaomi distributor itself, but somewhere along the way, that was lost in translation.

It might be a bit moot at this point, however, as the devices have vanished from the carrier’s website. US Mobile says that this is because the devices are now undergoing testing and certification with its “enabling carriers”, something it probably should have done before it put them up in the first place.


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