The GS3 thing got me thinking? Why are we still on a subsidized model anyway

loki993

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So Verizon releases the GS3 locked and all the other US carriers, and the world for that matter, get the unlocked version. After that Samsung released a developers edition unsubsidized right from them.

It got me thinking, what if it was always like this. you don't buy the phone from the carrier you buy whatever phone you want from the manufacturer or Best Buy or whatever and as long as it will work on the network you can activate it on whatever carrier. That's how the rest of the world does it, I think we're one of the few if not the only countries that has a set up that subsidizes phones.

Think about it, Manufacturers could concentrate on making phones, instead of making a special phone for each carrier, then going through the hassle of putting their software on it, even packaging would be reduced by standardizing it. Just a few different models to cover different wordwide networks, not 3 or so for the world and 4 or 5 just for the US. Sure they may be expensive at the beginning but the prices will come down and budget phones will appear too that arent absolute crap because you would actually still have to pay for it.

Carriers could stop concentrating on what new phone to release and what to add and what to lock down and actually concentrate on improving their networks. Also in theory plan prices should come down too, because you may pay less up front but the extra cost of that phone is built in into everyones plans. I mean they get the money back over the course of the plan by forcing you into a contract, does that make them that much extra money? I mean it must right?

On the surface this looks like it should work. Now In sure there is a reason it wont otherwise it would have happened by now right? But then again the rest of the world does it this way.

Why are we different? Yeah it would be painful at the beginning but I really think that this would be better form everyone in the long run. Wouldn't it be great to just go out and buy whatever new phone you wanted. Not have to wait to see what gets picked up by what carrier. All the complaining about this phone not coming here or that phone not going there gone.
 

vatothe0

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People in the US are too accustomed to getting a top of the line smartphone every two years for <$300 or a decent basic phone for free.
 

garrett

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the other issue is the vast differences in wireless technology used by each carrier here in the U.S. Very few networks use the same technology but even the ones that use the same technology are still different and the phones arent compatible with each network.
 

MissionImprobable

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Manufacturers and Wireless companies also keep prices artificially high. There's no reason the Rezound should be $649 from VZ but available online for $450-500. Google will be a big help in lowering the price of quality Android devices via their Nexus releases over the next few years. Quality phones for $349 and tablets in the $200 range will certainly make people think twice about paying similar prices directly to carriers for the privilege of being locked into a new contract for the next two years. Even the $600 for the unlocked GS3 is absurd, though that's still less than the locked version from Verizon.

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zomnomnombie

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I am always harping on ending the subsidized model. It's an opiate that American consumers are used to, like excessive credit card usage.

We don't care about paying more money as long as it FEELS like we're paying less.

We prefer to be bled out slowly as opposed to taking the amputation like an adult.

Just save the money every month that you would be paying for the subsidy and buy a new phone when you've saved enough.

Subsidies are the obesity of the tech world. Self control isn't so bad.


Edit: And if your cost of living is so high that you are struggling to pay your cell phone bill. Drop the *damn $200 phone bill, $50 internet bill, $15 Netflix account, buy a $5 library card and get out of debt. Then revisit the situation.
 
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loki993

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the other issue is the vast differences in wireless technology used by each carrier here in the U.S. Very few networks use the same technology but even the ones that use the same technology are still different and the phones arent compatible with each network.

Yes and no. Before 4g it was just GSM and CDMA. Now we have a mix of 4g technoligies, but even that is getting better. Sprint is dropping wimax and going with LTE, ATT is using LTE, I thought Tmo used LTE too but it doesnt look lile it. The HSPA+ is used in a lot of different places. I don't know if the use the same frequency bands, not too up on all that. Either way the techs are being used in the rest of the world too so the unlocked phones will be made anyway. I don't think it would be as bad as you think.

I am always harping on ending the subsidized model. It's an opiate that American consumers are used to, like excessive credit card usage.

We don't care about paying more money as long as it FEELS like we're paying less.

We prefer to be bled out slowly as opposed to taking the amputation like an adult.

Just save the money every month that you would be paying for the subsidy and buy a new phone when you've saved enough.

Subsidies are the obesity of the tech world. Self control isn't so bad.


Edit: And if your cost of living is so high that you are struggling to pay your cell phone bill. Drop the *damn $200 phone bill, $50 internet bill, $15 Netflix account, buy a $5 library card and get out of debt. Then revisit the situation.

I really think the retail phone prices are a bit marked up right now, if we were to go away from subsidies I believe prices would come down to more reasonable levels.

That would be ok if you actually saved money on your bill by buying a phone off subsidy, which as far as I know you don't. so the only advantage of getting one like that is not being on a contract, which I could care less about. As much as I complain sometimes about the stuff they pull with their customers Ill probably not be leaving Verizon anytime soon. As annoying as it is their network is just that good and they know it.
 
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TatDroid

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zomnomnombie said:
Just save the money every month that you would be paying for the subsidy and buy a new phone when you've saved enough.

I agree. The only problem with that is that, here in the US, there is nothing to "save". All of the major phone carriers charge you the exact same monthly fee - whether you've bought a subsidized phone from them or not. It's a crazy stupid business model that only benefits the carriers and is not good for the customer.
 
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loki993

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I agree. The only problem with that is that, here in the US, there is nothing to "save". All of the major phone carriers charge you the exact same monthly fee - whether you've bought a subsidized phone from them or not. It's a crazy stupid business model that only benefits the carriers and is not good for the customer.

That's the annoying part of it the subsidy is built into your plan whether you get a phone from them or not and maybe that's the real reason. When you do finally "pay" for you phone that remainder of your contract is basically pure profit for them.
 

zomnomnombie

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I really think the retail phone prices are a bit marked up right now, if we were to go away from subsidies I believe prices would come down to more reasonable levels.

That would be ok if you actually saved money on your bill by buying a phone off subsidy, which as far as I know you don't. so the only advantage of getting one like that is not being on a contract, which I could care less about. As much as I complain sometimes about the stuff they pull with their customers Ill probably not be leaving Verizon anytime soon. As annoying as it is their network is just that good and they know it.

Retail prices would likely come down but that's not where the real savings are. If subsidies were to end, phone plans, you know the thing people spend $1000-$2000 on every year, would drop significantly.

I agree. The only problem with that is that, here in the US, there is nothing to "save". All of the major phone carriers charge you the exact same monthly fee - whether you've bought a subsidized phone from them or not. It's a crazy stupid business model that only benefits the carriers and is not good for the customer.

That's the annoying part of it the subsidy is built into your plan whether you get a phone from them or not and maybe that's the real reason. When you do finally "pay" for you phone that remainder of your contract is basically pure profit for them.

T-Mobile does offer savings on buying full retail phones. And many of us who will remain on the grandfathered unlimited plans on Verizon are saving money every month. In my case it's about $30, that's $720 every 2 years.
 
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jseah

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And many of us who will remain on the grandfathered unlimited plans on Verizon are saving money every month. In my case it's about $30, that's $720 every 2 years.[/FONT][/COLOR]

On my 5 lines, with the Talk Text & Data discount, I am saving $100 a month, in addition to keeping unlimited data on all 5 lines, which essentially makes up the cost of the subsidy every two years. Granted, this will mean that I won't be upgrading phones every 20 months like clockwork. Having to shell out $600 versus $200 will mean that I will hold out longer until a really good phone comes out rather than getting the best one available.
 

TatDroid

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zomnomnombie said:
And many of us who will remain on the grandfathered unlimited plans on Verizon are saving money every month. In my case it's about $30, that's $720 every 2 years.

I guess "saving" can be thought of in many ways. Your saying it would cost you more if you went to another carrier. And if you switched to Verizon's tiered data that would cost you more.

However, by staying with Verizon and buying your phone at retail you're definitely paying Verizon MORE than you did before June 28th. To the tune of about $20/month if you used to get a $600 phone for a subsidised price of $200 every 20 months.

Plus, once your current contract runs out you go month to month. Which means Verizon could change the terms of your contract with just 1 month notice. You could buy a new $600 phone one month, and then Verizon could pull your unlimited data the next month.
 

zomnomnombie

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TatDroid said:
I guess "saving" can be thought of in many ways. Your saying it would cost you more if you went to another carrier. And if you switched to Verizon's tiered data that would cost you more.

However, by staying with Verizon and buying your phone at retail you're definitely paying Verizon MORE than you did before June 28th. To the tune of about $20/month if you used to get a $600 phone for a subsidised price of $200 every 20 months.

Plus, once your current contract runs out you go month to month. Which means Verizon could change the terms of your contract with just 1 month notice. You could buy a new $600 phone one month, and then Verizon could pull your unlimited data the next month.

I'm paying them more money but I'm paying less money overall. It's not subjective. I'm paying less money than a shared plan or going to another carrier.

Less money spent=money saved.

I'm still on contract at the moment. So I'm safe for about 22 months.

If they start modifying plans of month-to-month customers, which I highly doubt but I would not be surprised either.

It would be so controversial at that point that I see Verizon offering discounts to those people.
 

MissionImprobable

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I think people just need to speak with their wallets. Sony and Google seem to be the only ones offering unlocked phones at intelligent prices. $350 and $450 look a whole lot better than $649. It's kind of suprising that companies like Samsung and HTC have linked themselves so handily to the carriers.
 
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