Phones made by China’s Xiaomi – the world’s fourth biggest smartphone maker – are going on sale in the US for the first time, but they won’t be able to run on 4G networks.
The carrier US Mobile said it would be importing a range of Xiaomi handsets from China and selling them online from this week.
However, the imported phones will not include Xiaomi’s latest devices such as the high-end Mi Note.
Further still, the phones will not run on high-speed 4G networks in the US.
US Mobile said it would also sell a handset from another giant Chinese manufacturer, Meizu.
PC Mag UK said the phones that US Mobile would make available online would include the Xiaomi Redmi 2 for $119 (£82.50), the Xiaomi Mi 3 for $135, the Meizu Note 2 for $149, and the Xiaomi Mi 4 for $219.
Until this week, however, Xiaomi’s phones have been virtually impossible to buy in the US.
“US consumers have traditionally had to compromise to afford incredible devices,” said US Mobile founder and chief executive Ahmed Khattak. “Now, with the launch of our marketplace, we are thrilled to offer complete range of exceptional smartphones for low monthly payments and to give our customers access to exceptional phones otherwise not available in the US”.
US Mobile uses the T-Mobile network and prides itself on providing its customers inexpensive contract-free services for all kinds of handsets. The carrier said it would provide service and support for the Chinese-made phones.
Xiaomi is widely described as China’s Apple and is well-known across many parts of Asia for its affordable smartphones, which it sells at a fraction of the cost of an iPhone.
Early last year, the Beijing-based giant launched an online store for US customers offering products such as headphones.
In April, it launched its Mi 4i phone in India, its top market after mainland China, before introducing its phones to markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and Brazil.