OnePlus has set a high benchmark for smartphone OEMs in the premium space with its series of "flagship killer" smartphones and it has managed to dominate the Rs 30,000-plus category at least in India. But the Chinese smartphone maker's next move could have major brands like Samsung, Apple and Huawei worried.

OnePlus' plans to launch a 5G smartphone early next year were revealed last month by the company's co-founder Carl Pei. It was widely believed that OnePlus 7 will be the first phone to come with 5G-enabled Snapdragon X50 chipset, but new evidence suggests the next-generation of wireless technology won't be found in OnePlus 6T successor.

According to a report by CNET, OnePlus will start a new smartphone-series that will support 5G bands. The reason behind starting a separate smartphone line to accommodate high-end feature like 5G is likely to maintain the affordable status quo of its existing lineup, Android Authority reported.

OnePlus 6T launched
OnePlus 6TOnePlus

This move suggests OnePlus won't be able to pack 5G in a smartphone without a price hike. It also means the company might be above and beyond in bundling the new 5G smartphone with advanced features that will challenge the likes of Huawei, Samsung and Apple flagships and justify a price hike. But that does not mean the regular line of OnePlus flagships will compromise on the high-end features.

OnePlus is already placing its phones in the $550 price range and it remains to be seen how far the company is willing to go for its 5G phone. It's worth noting that brands like Apple have breached the $1,000 mark, making OnePlus phones still worthy enough.

Now for the release of the OnePlus 5G phone, the early 2019 timeline doesn't pinpoint the exact date. But it appears the company, which has grown to become one of the most popular brands globally, will use one of the major tech events such as CES or MWC to showcase the new phone. The Consumer Electronics Show is held in January and the Mobile World Congress starts towards the end of February.

Seeing how successful OnePlus phones have been so far, it is exciting to see how the company takes upon this new challenge. Stay tuned for updates.