Verizon CEO wouldn't mind if U.S. regulators ban phone subsidies

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by EbookReader, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816

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    #1
    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/01/07/could-verizon-att-follow-t-mobile-in-ending-subsidies/

    Could Verizon, AT&T Follow T-Mobile in Ending Subsidies?

    All the FCC has to do is mandate that all phone contracts will be split into two like it is done in Germany.

    splitting the contract in two, so that one part of the monthly charge is explicitly paying off the handset, and the other representing the service charge.
     
  2. macrumors 68020

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    #2
    Iwould not have a problem with that if the FCC added one more clause that all phones sold have to be unlocked and able to be used on any network in US, whether under contract or not.
     
  3. macrumors member

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    #3
    So they are trying to be the pre-paid of post-paid. I think they saw how popular feature phones (like the iPhone) have been on Virgin, Boost, etc. and thought "we can do that."

    The problem is, without subsidies you can't lock people into contracts. Customer holding is the key - so it will be exciting to see how this works for them.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

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    #4


    Sure you can, you just sell them the phone for $699 up front, and allow them to make payments on it over 24 months. After all that is more or less what T-Mobile is doing and what the consumers have been doing all along on other carriers. Consumers just are not smart enough at times to realize they are paying full price ++++ for the phone, even though it is 'subsidized'.


    .
     
  5. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #5
    If they did that I'd say it would have a chilling affect on the market, people would be less willing to upgrade to a new phone so quickly.

    I also don't see why the FCC would step in and do that, I don't see the regulatory justification
     
  6. macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Of course you can. Just offer a deal that a customer finds attractive and they will gladly sign a contract.

    If I said the cheapest "all unlimited" pre paid was 90 bucks a month, but if you signed a two year contract with me I could get you the same thing for 50 bucks a month - would you decline because I'm not offering a subsidised phone and charging 70 bucks a month?
     
  7. macrumors 68040

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    #7
    That's strange, my bill from AT&T is exactly the same whether I am under contract as a result of getting a subsidized phone or not. There is no additional cash outlay or payment--just a commitment for a service I need anyway.

    I think those who would expect a cheaper cell phone bill from the major carriers for an unsubsidized purchase are being naive. If subsidies end, then you could expect an *additional* amount tacked onto your bill each month -- and since the carriers would now consider it a "loan" there would likely be interest.
     
  8. macrumors 604

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    #8
    Verizon would love it. They would keep charging the same prices but wouldn't have to pay for the phones. For the first 2 years you are paying off the phone, and then profits increase for the carriers. With no subsidies, the profits would be higher right off the bat.

    An end to phone subsidies would NOT lower phone bills.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Would you consider T-Mobile as a major carrier?

    T-Mobile offer cheaper cell phone bill for an unsubsidized purchase.
     
  10. macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #10
    Why on earth is mobile service so expensive in America?
     
  11. macrumors G4

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    #11
    That would be bad news for Apple since right now carriers pay $100 more in subsidies than they do for competing Samsung phones. Either Apple would have to reduce its prices (and margins) or they would need to attempt to sell the phones for full price. They tried that in 2007 but quickly dropped that.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

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    #12
    Fine with me.

    I'll just buy the phone discounted on Amazon and jump around with whatever carrier will give me the best deal whichever month because there's no way I'm signing a contract when I paid outright for the hardware.

    Seems to me that if more people had the freedom to bounce around, it'll start a race to the bottom as companies try to keep customers that aren't restricted by termination fees from jumping ship to Company X offering the same service for $20 less.
     
  13. macrumors 68040

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    Not really. I consider Verizon and AT&T to be major carriers and they tend to follow each other's moves in the market. T-mobile and Sprint still offer unlimited data and it doesn't pressure AT&T or Verizon. Likewise, the fact that T-mobile ended subsidies but offers a cheaper bill in return will not add competitive pressure to the big guys.

    They consider themselves "premium" networks--especially Verizon--and so would justify offering no subsidy and no discounted bill.

    Come on now, most of us have dealt with AT&T and Verizon for several years now and we know that they don't *lower* prices. They may offer more or better service for a higher price -- but they don't lower prices.
     
  14. macrumors 68030

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    #14
    Meaning everyone is paying for the subsidised phones, not only those getting them. Very socialistic of you ;) Because I highly doubt anyone actually believes that the carriers are giving away phones without it being added to what you as a customer are paying for their services... At least after having considered how likely such a move would be.

    ----------

    The end of phone subsidies (and the end of carrier locked phones) would mean price competition would be much more important in attracting customers. Ergo, lower bills.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    So if T-Mobile has 42 million subscribers, would you consider it as a major carrier?

    Or does T-Mobile need to reach the 100 million mark to be counted?
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    BigMcGuire

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    #16
    EXACTLY. I went to Peru and about crapped my pants seeing how cheap cellphones are there. Quite a few people have 2 cellphones just because of the price!

    The best explanation I've heard so far comes from a friend who thinks it's because of the great land distance in the USA - the cost of providing wireless service to huge amounts of land. Makes sense but I still think there are other factors (charging high price because of little competition and because they can).

    I'm all for unsubsidized phones. People will treat their phones better. Should make switching carriers easier. Seems like a win to me.
     
  17. macrumors 68040

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    #17
    That could very well be true -- definitely not saying you are wrong about that. I'm just a pessimist about this, and I think that the other carriers will simply maintain the current price points for their plans *regardless* of whether the subsidy ends. In other words, it will be a price hike if the bill remains the same and the subsidy ends. That's the most likely scenario in my opinion.

    ----------

    It would still be a pain to jump from one carrier to another. Currently, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon phones can't run on each others networks -- at least not at optimal speeds. To get the best service, you'd have to sell your previous phone at a loss and buy a new phone at full price on your chosen carrier.

    I'm not saying T-Mobile isn't a good carrier with good service in some places -- but Verizon and AT&T are on a different level and call the shots. The other carriers *need* to offer extra incentives to get customers -- while Verizon and AT&T have more freedom to raise prices without losing subscribers. They don't technically collude or meet to fix prices--they don't have to. Neither Verizon nor AT&T could end their phone subsidy without the other following suit fairly soon. You saw it with the end of unlimited data and you'll see it with phone subsidies as well.
     
  18. macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Oh yeah, I completely forgot about that... Well, how about this then: the sale of CDMA+GSM-phones will increase dramatically in comparison to only GSM or only CDMA and in a few years (when most people have switched phones "naturally" the competition will be (on its way to become) like most places in Europe today? ;)

    Or is the difference larger than just CDMA/GSM?
     
  19. macrumors member

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    #19
    That's the issue right there in the States, and why carriers wouldn't mind ending subsidies. It doesn't augment the customer's ability to switch carriers.
     
  20. macrumors 601

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    #20
    Well NOW that pre-paid competitors are knocking the doors, do Mr. CEO finally say subsidies are bad. Yeah right.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

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    #21
    As most people have said, monthly bill prices will certainly not change one bit.
     
  22. macrumors G3

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    #22
    Verizon CEO also wouldn't mind if they ban unlimited data either.
     
  23. macrumors 603

    thekev

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    #23
    Banning phone subsidies wouldn't change anything really. If more desirable phones infiltrate lower price points and companies with stable networks offer plans with lower monthly options and no subsidies, you'll see things change. I wouldn't mind if carrier locking was banned.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

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    #24
  25. macrumors 604

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    #25
    The carriers have Congress and the FCC in their pockets - they make lots of "gifts" to politicians and regulators. In most countries it;'s called bribes. The "subsidy" for new phones is part of the game.
     

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