If the 4 major carriers drop iphone/android phone subsidies, would consumers benefit?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by EbookReader, Dec 16, 2012.


If the 4 major carriers drop iphone/android phone subsidies, would consumers benefit?

  1. Yes, consumers benefit

    34 vote(s)
  2. No, consumers won't benefit

    35 vote(s)
  1. EbookReader macrumors 65816

    Apr 3, 2012
    If AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile drop iphone/android phone subsidies, would consumers benefit?

    You will have 2 ways to pay off your smartphone

    1) pay it all off upfront
    2) pay it off in installment

    Your monthly phone bill will now have 2 components

    1) Your phone hardware ($0 if you pay it all off upfront)
    2) Your wireless service
  2. EbookReader thread starter macrumors 65816

    Apr 3, 2012
    T-Mobile subsidy cut will be a "disaster," Telefonica exec says

  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If my carrier dropped the subsidy, I'd find a carrier that gave me one. I'd rather buy an iPhone for 199 and pay a little more a month then dropping 600 upfront
  4. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Pay $800 for an adware infused locked down Android phone? No thanks. Pay $800 for an iPhone? Well... I think at that point I'd look elsewhere - iPod with WiFi and Skype before I paid that much for a damn cellphone. I mean my Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook was $600. I'd be looking at a Wifi Hotspot and an iPod Touch before paying THAT MUCH for a damn cellphone +$100/mo with carrier.
  5. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    It would only benefit consumers if you got a significant discount off your monthly bill for buying your phone up front. I haven't upgraded my iPhone 4 yet on AT&T and the contract expired -- yet I'm still paying the *same* amount on my bill when I was under contract.

    If phone companies dump the subsidy, you have to know that they will look at the situation in a way that makes the most money for them. They would dump the subsidy, NOT offer a discount on your plan and then to make the phone affordable offer to happily charge you an *additional* $30 a month to "pay off" the phone.
  6. EbookReader thread starter macrumors 65816

    Apr 3, 2012
    If you are on T-Mobile who no longer offer phone subsidy and your 2 years contract expire, would you benefit as a consumer?
  7. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    I'd say no because knowing major carriers they would still charge ridiculous monthly fees.

    Sales of phones would also decrease as not everyone can always afford the unsubsidized cost upfront.
  8. Mr Hill macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    T-Mobile drops your bill by $20 per month on their no subsidy Value plans (with the option to pay $20 per month for your device if you don't want to cough up $700 upfront). If the other carriers dropped subsidies but still charged the high monthly rates then consumers would not benefit. If they offered a monthly rate plan discount then we would benefit.
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I would say yes only if the carrier's dropped the monthly fee, which isn't going to happen.
  10. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    Do you really think AT&T and Verizon would do that? I certainly don't. Perhaps I'm just a pessimist, but I always assume that these companies are more inclined to raise prices.
  11. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    Exactly. USA Cell carriers are making so much $$$$ there's no way they would do this. I could save $1,550 a year if I would just use iPod touch with Skype. But nooo, me and my wife must have iPhones. lol. That's not even counting the cost of new iPhones every 2 years ($300x2).
  12. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601


    Jun 21, 2010
    No, because most people can't afford to pay so much upfront, such as the $649 for a new iPhone 5
  13. Ericcc macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2012
    Only if it offered consumers more choice and make carriers compete harder. In North America, I can see this working in Canada but not in the United States.

    In Canada, the big carriers have all migrated to GSM and use similar network bands. So if every phone sold were unlocked with no strings attached, a consumer would be able to easily switch carriers every time a better rate comes along. Eventually, competition between the big 3 and smaller cheaper carriers will bring down prices.

    In USA however, CDMA negates whatever advantage in owning an unlocked phone. Buying a Verizon phone up-front grants you no leverage if you're threatening to switch to Sprint, much less other GSM carriers.

    The idea is in dropping the hardware subsidies, your monthly bill would also go down. Right now, you're basically financing your phone with your monthly fees. What the OP is alluding to is no monthly financing option on your phone.

    I buy all my phones unlocked, full-price. I'm not going to be tied to a 3-year (the norm in Canada) contract when rates are continually dropping. Plus there are no switching issues when traveling to foreign countries.
  14. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I would do the same thing.
  15. has.marvel macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2012
    I would be happy to see them drop the subsidy. I would rather buy my phones when I want like I buy my ipads. If I want the newest, I buy it and sell my old one. If I would rather wait, I will do that also. Just give me a phone rate that reflects the real network costs and does not include the cost of a new phone every two years.
  16. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    U.S. carriers have near-monopoly. Even newcomers piggy-back onto the 2 major carriers so u know they have their hands in cookie jar no matter.

    We Yanks are truly special. When I go overseas I buy a sim card at the airport, pop it in, am in business. Incoming text are free BTW. Overseas people coming in the U.S. tear their hairs out trying to get temporary cell service. We are special all right.

    This subsidy argument is moot. The major carriers and their lobbyists got your wallets no matter what.
  17. From A Buick 8 macrumors 68040

    From A Buick 8

    Sep 16, 2010
    Ky Close to CinCinnati
    i voted yes, just because it would mean fewer smart phones in use, and that makes mine just that much more special. :D
  18. dingster1 macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2008
    I agree with this, which is why Verizon is seeing folks change to SE plans without too much fuss.
  19. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601


    Jun 21, 2010
    In fact, I feel like this will screw over TMobile because the average consumer who doesn't know anything will notice how the iPhone is only $199 on AT&T/VZW and wonder why it is $649 at T-Mobile. Not to mention, T-Mobile's network is complete junk as well.
  20. EbookReader thread starter macrumors 65816

    Apr 3, 2012
    that's why many analysts are saying dropping subsidy will do T-Mobile more harm than good.
  21. Marrakas macrumors 6502


    May 23, 2012
    Back in europe I paid $30 a month for 600min/600sms/1000mb data, no commitment. For subsidized phones it's usually another $50 a month for 1 year, then it's paid off and you're back at $30 a month. During the downpayment period you can even quit your line and pay just on the downpayment part.

    I think the US carriers are overcharging like crazy, especially for data.
  22. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    Setting aside the quality of T-Mobile's network for a moment, I believe that this move COULD help T-Mobile to compete.

    With the economy being as flat as it has been, people are looking beyond initial out-of-pocket costs to the monthly outlay. That is causing many people that I know to switch from contract plans to prepaid plans.

    The one to be most fearful about an end to phone subsidies is Apple. It should not be a surprise that the one major company who does not offer the iPhone is the one considering this move.

    There are many quality middle-level Android-based smartphones that can be purchased outright for $200 and less. (Quality low-spec'ed smartphones for $100 or less) The $200 price point is something that people are accustomed to paying for a phone on contract, so that won't be a hurdle.

    But tell people that they'll pay the same $200 upfront for a phone but pay LESS each month for their service (the true reason for having a cell phone in the first place), and THAT will get their attention.

    Stores are already selling Samsung Galaxy SII no-contract smartphones for $250-$300. Many here many not agree that it is an excellent phone, but there are many others who do.

    In that environment, Apple can't sell $600 unsubsidized iPhones. Believe it or not, there are people who will forego purchasing an iPhone to buy an equally (or better) spec'ed Android phone and save $300+ in the process.
  23. shawnwich macrumors 6502


    Oct 4, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I think that would be terrible, lol.

    The typical American consumer wants to buy a nice little packaged deal.
  24. upnorth85 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2011
    MN, USA
    I have been on T-mobile for 10+ years and before was on AT&T. T-mobiles HSPA+ network ("4G") is decent in cities and pathetic in rural areas where it is mainly Edge. I am on their "value" plan where I buy my own phone for a reduce monthly payment and benefit from this over the long term. They also do an interest free installment plan for those can't pay upfront cash.
    The US market is the most concentrated one; 80% of the market is between a duopoly of AT&T and Verizon wireless. In such a condition what ever they rule will work. Moreover, Americans do not understand the "value plan" concept and prefer to pay $199 cash down and then high monthly payments. Most of the world, it is buy your phone and then look for a competitive phone company. The 2 year contract system in the US is a way to lock customers for 2 years. Even if you buy your phone AT&T will force you for data plan and contract.
  25. 0000757 macrumors 68040

    Dec 16, 2011
    Only if they offered prepaid-esque plans (60$ for unlimited everything, or 45$ for unlimited text/data and 1200 minutes, etc.)

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