T-Mobile doubling down on white-label devices, prepping new Revvl Plus phone

T-Mobile launched its first Revvl-branded phone in August. (T-Mobile)

T-Mobile appears to be preparing to launch a new phone under its own Revvl brand, an indication the carrier plans to expand its investment into its own line of self-branded phones.

According to BayStreet Research, T-Mobile will soon unveil the Revvl Plus, a mid-range phone that will represent an upgrade to the Revvl phone that T-Mobile launched in August. The Revvl Plus will feature a larger screen and upgraded specifications, and will cost roughly $100 more than the current Revvl, which costs $150. BayStreet, which tracks device sales in the United States, said its information comes from its conversations with channel partners.

T-Mobile declined to comment directly on whether it is planning to release a Revvl Plus. However, in his August post announcing the carrier’s Revvl, T-Mobile’s Mike Sievert notably described the device as “the first T-Mobile Revvl,” potentially indicating more such phones in the future.

Sievert also explained that T-Mobile had worked with its “partners” to create the Revvl—which sports a 5.5-inch screen, 32 GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a fingerprint sensor—in order to introduce “a brand new feature-packed phone designed specifically for T-Mobile customers.”

To be clear, T-Mobile isn’t the only telecom player to take the white-label approach to the phone market, where companies slap their brands on devices built by other vendors. For example, Verizon’s Ellipsis 8 tablet carries that operator’s brand, and Google’s Pixel and Nexus lines of phones are manufactured by vendors like HTC and LG.

“This trend should continue as the value proposition offered under carrier brand will always look more appealing and sort of subsidized to consumers,” wrote Counterpoint analyst Neil Shah in response to questions from FierceWireless. “So do expect carriers to launch good spec budget phones (especially large screen and more memory) under its own brand to attract those millions of prepaid users.”

A wider trend toward white-label phones is noteworthy considering the heated competition in the smartphone space. Apple and Samsung effectively dominate the high end of the smartphone market, though they face competition from established players like LG and Motorola and upstarts like Essential. The low- and mid-range tier of the U.S. smartphone market, meanwhile, is currently crowded with players like ZTE, Blu and others.