Apple Mobile prepaid phone service, anyone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by BJWanlund, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. BJWanlund macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #1
    I've been thinking about how Apple could truly revolutionize the prepaid mobile phone market.
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    First, like Apple always loves to do, let's look at "the old way" of offering prepaid phones. Companies like TracFone, etc. have pre-paid phones. However, they're old, outdated, and makes you look like a cheapskate. While we're at it, let's look at the "old way" of offering reloadable prepaid phone minutes. You have to buy pre-paid phone cards in varying demoninations in order to reload when you are either low or out. The only benefits of a prepaid phone and service currently is that you don't have to pay upwards of $60 American per month, OR sign a contract.

    Now, let's look at Apple's solution to the prepaid phone. Meet iPhone Prepaid. It offers a camera that can do both pictures and video, stereo Bluetooth, it has true GPS, not assisted GPS as in the iPhone 3G itself, and it has all other features of the iPhone 3G, including a plastic back AND custom ringtones.

    Now, let's look at Apple's solution to the prepaid phone service (i.e. the minutes). Meet Apple Mobile. It would be done through iTunes (as everything Apple is), and the minutes would be automatically added to your account. Data usage DOES NOT AFFECT these prepaid minutes. Unlimited text messaging (perfect for teenagers) and unlimited email and web browsing (again, perfect for teenagers). Prepaid minutes are also unaffected by calling another mobile phone. Minutes would range from $5 for 15 landline-calling minutes to $50 for 120 landline-calling minutes. Of course, all prices are in US dollars, so YMMV.

    However, if Apple did the iTunes Premium Pass (iTPP) that I described in detail in another thread, the iTPP would negate these charges, too. Also, the iPhone Prepaid would cost only $99 straight up, with no activation required, and certainly no standing in long lines at your local Apple or AT&T stores. In lieu of offering it at AT&T stores, however, this device would be offered at ANY PLACE that iPods are currently sold, along with select grocery stores in several major markets (Publix, Kroger, etc). So, even if you don't have an Apple Store in your vicinity, you can still have the iPhone Prepaid.

    Also, if you have to replace your iPhone Prepaid for any reason whatsoever, all you need to do is go to a special Apple website, and you'll instantly get an "iPhone Prepaid Replacement Certificate" that you can take to your local store (again, doesn't have to be Apple) and replace the phone for free. Couldn't be easier.
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    Now, this would CERTAINLY get rid of the vast majority of the sinners who have SIM-unlocked their iPhones. If only Apple would do it (and AT&T would let 'em).

    BJ
     
  2. NotFound macrumors 6502a

    NotFound

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    Nov 30, 2006
    #2
    I'm sure Apple & AT&T (and other companies) have a nice iron clad agreement stating that they are bound to each other for a period of X years. So no, I don't see this, but to amuse- I'll go on.

    Secondly, that would mean Apple would buy airtime minutes from other providers, all over the world, and would have to compete with their own services offered by AT&T, O2, T-Mobile, etc.


    They would be paying back the same companies that are giving Apple a slice of their own pie.
     
  3. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #3
    Sounds just like their Go Phone plan, that can be used with the v1 iPhone. Maybe we'll see something like the Go Phone in the near future for 3G iPhones...

    Also, I've got a good friend that travels to Vietnam on business and he turns off his International Roaming and operates off of phone cards and buys minutes rather than using IR minutes.
     
  4. BJWanlund thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #4
    I was actually thinking, more or less, that it would be entirely Apple who would be doing the innovating here. I don't think they'll need the other companies; this is just another option to get iPhones into consumers' hands, now that the price issue is no longer an issue. Now the issue with total iPhone domination are those folks who just want the iPhone and don't want the services provided by those like AT&T, Rogers, etc.

    BJ
     
  5. NotFound macrumors 6502a

    NotFound

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    Nov 30, 2006
    #5
    I guess you didn't read the whole contractual agreement between companies thing....

    Don't get me wrong, it sounds like a good idea, it just doesn't seem feasible. And if Apple ever did start their own pre-paid service, it def. would be more expensive than the subsidized price points offered by AT&T currently.
     
  6. BJWanlund thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #6
    Either way, the iPod Touch is a compromise Apple probably doesn't want to have. Apple wants everybody to have an iPhone, so offering a prepaid option will definitely speed things along in Apple's iPhone Domination Plan (since RIM doesn't offer a prepaid option for Blackberries).

    If Apple did this, the iPhone would be the most-used smartphone in America and maybe even the world.

    BJ
     
  7. Van Wildonher macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 29, 2008
    #7
    Doubt it will happen in the next 50 years... unless they buy out some other phone company. Doubt that too though.
     
  8. BJWanlund thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Is it as "unlikely" as Blu-Ray or anything else? Never say never.

    BJ
     
  9. ubersalad macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 26, 2008
  10. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #10
    In what way does this brainchild work? Apple is either going to have to spend millions, if not billions, on a cellular network. Considering the "slow" rollout of 3G by companies who have been doing this for awhile, how fast do you think Apple can do this. If you're going to tie this service in with another provider, well, how is that different that what we have now? AT&T is the one not offering a pay as you go plan (since other carriers worldwide are).

    Oh yeah, the PAYG plans come with a full-price phone at about $600. Who in the crap is going to drop $600 on an iPhone? Not many people.

    This is a great idea if you put Albus Dumbledore in charge of it all. But if it requires hundreds of millions of real dollars with a real network, well, ouch.
     
  11. BJWanlund thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 23, 2008
    #11
    What are Apple's operating costs? How much does it cost Apple to build iPhones? If they subsidized it, what would the price be? Apple needs to bring the sheer cost of the iPhone PAYG plan WAY into line, even IF it does it themselves as a MVNO (what Apple was rumoured to do from the very start).

    BJ
     
  12. philgilder macrumors 68000

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    UK
    #12
  13. illutionz macrumors 65816

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    Oct 2, 2007
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    #13
    I "hate" MVNO... so no...

    Also, AGPS is better than the "true" GPS because it locks you in faster :rolleyes:
     

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