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NFT: "Smart" Phones

Mark from Jersey : 2/10/2018 8:07 am
Please help me;

1) Understand why a new smart phone costs between 700 and 1,000 now.

2) Figure out a way to get a new/newer one without having to have a second job or donate a kidney.

3) History - Help me figure out how customers allowed this to happen. When did the consumer become a fucking bunch of lemmings with regard to these portable idiot boxes? Alternatively, why did the competitive carrier market (Sprint, Verizon, T-Moble, AT& T) stop discounting them? Remember the "free upgrades"?

Wish I could go back to my old favorite...
They are expensive because they  
Metnut : 2/10/2018 8:24 am : link
are portable computers that do a million things.
Pretty sure you can still buy an old flip phone.  
Brown Recluse : 2/10/2018 8:26 am : link
But you won’t. You’ll just bitch about how expensive and unnecesary these newfangled devices are and go buy one anyway (this is how customers let this happen)

:)
well...  
giantsfaninphilly : 2/10/2018 8:27 am : link
1) The goal of public companies is to maximize shareholder's profits.
2) Possibly sell blood or sperm.
3) Consumers have always been lemmings and advertising has been around for as long as there are people to sell to.
RE: They are expensive because they  
Brown Recluse : 2/10/2018 8:28 am : link
In comment 13828198 Metnut said:
Quote:
are portable computers that do a million things.


You really believe that? I bet they mark up the hell out of these things.
...  
christian : 2/10/2018 8:33 am : link
The capability of a modern smart phone can basically replace a half dozen devices in your life and add features that were basically impossible 10 years ago.

Think of it this way; who has a GPS, MP3 player, camera, home phone, satellite radio?
The prices didn't skyrocket;  
Gatorade Dunk : 2/10/2018 8:38 am : link
the pricing model just changed.

A large portion of the retail price of your phone used to be subsidized by the carrier and baked into your bill, which also had restrictions on things like minutes and messages. The phones themselves weren't actually discounted; you paid the same amount for your phone as you do now, but you didn't see it broken out that way. And if you didn't take advantage of the upgrade every two years, you continued to pay that all-in bill long after the subsidy had been paid back.

Now, you pay the full freight for the the phone with plans that are entirely built around data. You can finance the phone through your carrier, which essentially has the same effect as the old model, except that it's fully transparent so that you know what portion of the bill is tied to the hardware vs. the coverage, and the cost of the phone drops off your bill when it's paid off.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the current $700-$1000 retail pricing model is actually a better deal for the consumer than the old subsidized "discount" model.
You don't need to spend that kind of money  
ZogZerg : 2/10/2018 8:43 am : link
for a smart phone. You can by some models much cheaper.

But, if you spend that kind of money you get an incredible product that can do so many impressive things. Some of which include:

Music player
stream music
GPS
Navigation
Super awesome photos
High Def video recorder
Consumer Wallet - pay bills without carrying a wallet
On-line banking
on-line bill payment
Send documents and messages to a printer
High res display
Watch movies
Watch news
Read news
Breaking news
Google at your finger tip
flash light
calculator
video call
blah blah blah

Oh yeah, you can even make a regular phone call..

In short, you have a high tech computer device at your finger tips, if you wish. If you don't, then you can still buy a much cheaper one.
Saw an article  
XBRONX : 2/10/2018 8:45 am : link
that it cost Apple $225 to build the Iphone 7
I forgot the most import thing  
ZogZerg : 2/10/2018 8:46 am : link
You can watch RedZone on your phone.
I used that feature all the time this past fall since I was traveling so much on Sundays.
RE: Saw an article  
ZogZerg : 2/10/2018 8:48 am : link
In comment 13828216 XBRONX said:
Quote:
that it cost Apple $225 to build the Iphone 7


How much did it cost to research, develop new technology, design, etc. the phone? Building the phone is just one part of it.
RE: Saw an article  
christian : 2/10/2018 8:50 am : link
In comment 13828216 XBRONX said:
Quote:
that it cost Apple $225 to build the Iphone 7


Depends on how you define build. The physical device.

That doesn't include the actual expensive part - the millions of hours of R&D, product development, software development, regulatory and legal, marketing, logistics, customer management, and quality control that goes into supporting a product.
I bought phones from WalMart  
fivehead : 2/10/2018 8:54 am : link
Samsung Galaxy Sky for $50 on sale, and an iPhone 5 for $100 on sale. I bought the wife an iPhone 6 for $200. All are on Straight talk 10GB/month plans for $50 each.

I am lucky that my wife and kids aren't the type of people that want the latest and greatest phones.
Besides buying an off-brand phone and saving money,  
Diver_Down : 2/10/2018 8:58 am : link
you can also choose to buy an older model. So instead of getting the S9 (released in 2 weeks), you can opt for the S7 and save a bunch of cash. Some consumers need the latest and greatest, but if you can live without the "super slo-mo video" feature on the S9 then save the cash. If you want to save even further, you can look for the refurbished models. Many of these refurbished phones had nothing major wrong with them, but for whatever the reason, they were sent back within the warranty period and replaced with in-stock models. The refurbished phone is then repaired if necessary and tested and offered at a substantial discount which includes an additional warranty.
You don’t have to spend that much  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/10/2018 9:02 am : link
There are good smartphones available in the $200-$400 range. It’s only the lastest and greatest from Apple, Samsung etc that cost $800-$1000.
you can get a perfectly capable smartphone for $200  
AnnapolisMike : 2/10/2018 9:09 am : link
Look at the Honor 7x. 6" screen with minimal bezels. powerful enough with expandable storage. If you have a little more to spend buy a Essential Phone or One Plus 5T... the former can be had on Amazon for $450. You could also pick up a used Apple 6s plus for about $300-$350 dollars...get a new battery installed and you have a nice phone.

Anyone saying you need a $800-1,000 cell phone is feeding you a line of shit.
RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
AnnapolisMike : 2/10/2018 9:10 am : link
In comment 13828212 ZogZerg said:
Quote:
for a smart phone. You can by some models much cheaper.

But, if you spend that kind of money you get an incredible product that can do so many impressive things. Some of which include:

Music player
stream music
GPS
Navigation
Super awesome photos
High Def video recorder
Consumer Wallet - pay bills without carrying a wallet
On-line banking
on-line bill payment
Send documents and messages to a printer
High res display
Watch movies
Watch news
Read news
Breaking news
Google at your finger tip
flash light
calculator
video call
blah blah blah

Oh yeah, you can even make a regular phone call..

In short, you have a high tech computer device at your finger tips, if you wish. If you don't, then you can still buy a much cheaper one.


A $200 phone will do all of that. Hell, I have a three year old Motorola E lying around that will do all of that.
Also: they still sell basic phones  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/10/2018 9:14 am : link
If you really don’t want a smartphone, they do sell basic phones somewhat similar to what you posted in the OP
RE: RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
christian : 2/10/2018 9:25 am : link

Quote:


A $200 phone will do all of that. Hell, I have a three year old Motorola E lying around that will do all of that.


That's absolutely the point; there is plenty of choice in the market place.

It's very much like buying a car. You don't have to buy the Porsche and incur the cost of the real and perceived benefits.

A Samsnung S7 is a powerful and capable phone and can be had for much cheaper, refurbished and with a warranty.

The cost of the latest phone is recovering all of the business and manufacturing costs and the profit driver for the company.

What it seems like is some consumers want the newest phone at the cost of the older model.
As other people have said, there are a lot of cheaper options  
Gary from The East End : Admin : 2/10/2018 9:26 am : link
All the big Android phone makers have mid-range and low end phones. They work just fine. I have a Motorola Moto G5 plus that cost me $239 plus tax back in September and I'm very happy with it.

I got my wife the Galaxy S8 because that's what she wanted and I can deny her nothing.
RE: As other people have said, there are a lot of cheaper options  
AnnapolisMike : 2/10/2018 9:35 am : link
In comment 13828255 Gary from The East End said:
Quote:

I got my wife the Galaxy S8 because that's what she wanted and I can deny her nothing.


Amazing how that works..... :-)
Gary  
lono801 : 2/10/2018 9:38 am : link
Is that the Moto you can add all the attachments?

Like they show on TV?

If so...do they work well?
RE: Gary  
Gary from The East End : Admin : 2/10/2018 9:47 am : link
In comment 13828267 lono801 said:
Quote:
Is that the Moto you can add all the attachments?

Like they show on TV?

If so...do they work well?


Nah. Mine's just a plain phone.
RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
Gregorio : 2/10/2018 12:26 pm : link
In comment 13828212 ZogZerg said:
Quote:
. . .
In short, you have a high tech computer device at your finger tips, if you wish. If you don't, then you can still buy a much cheaper one.


So, the consumer wants a phone, but ends up with a device that does a million things. Cool as it is, the consumer only wants a phone. Clever marketing for sure.

My solution? I still have an old LG flip phone for text and calls, and I avoid the $800 to $1,000 a year data charges.
Figure in the cost of the new phone to that, and you have pissed away very good money on something you didn't want in the first place.

I get full computer access at home and work. So for the time I am not at either of those, it's just worth the recurring cost.
RE: RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
christian : 2/10/2018 12:35 pm : link
In comment 13828409 Gregorio said:
Quote:
In comment 13828212 ZogZerg said:


Quote:


. . .
In short, you have a high tech computer device at your finger tips, if you wish. If you don't, then you can still buy a much cheaper one.



So, the consumer wants a phone, but ends up with a device that does a million things. Cool as it is, the consumer only wants a phone. Clever marketing for sure.

My solution? I still have an old LG flip phone for text and calls, and I avoid the $800 to $1,000 a year data charges.
Figure in the cost of the new phone to that, and you have pissed away very good money on something you didn't want in the first place.

I get full computer access at home and work. So for the time I am not at either of those, it's just worth the recurring cost.


The poor consumer, all 2.1 billion getting duped into buying smart phones they don't want.

Literally a third of the world victims of a clever marketing hoax.

It's almost as if some people want them. But that couldn't be.
RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
Eli Wilson : 2/10/2018 12:37 pm : link
In comment 13828212 ZogZerg said:
Quote:
for a smart phone. You can by some models much cheaper.

But, if you spend that kind of money you get an incredible product that can do so many impressive things. Some of which include:

Music player
stream music
GPS
Navigation
Super awesome photos
High Def video recorder
Consumer Wallet - pay bills without carrying a wallet
On-line banking
on-line bill payment
Send documents and messages to a printer
High res display
Watch movies
Watch news
Read news
Breaking news
Google at your finger tip
flash light
calculator
video call
blah blah blah

Oh yeah, you can even make a regular phone call..

In short, you have a high tech computer device at your finger tips, if you wish. If you don't, then you can still buy a much cheaper one.


My Samsung tablet does all those things, minus phone calls, better than my smartphone yet only cost $200. Only thing missing is a cell antenna. No way that should cost $500. It is a big ripoff.
.  
Danny Kanell : 2/10/2018 12:42 pm : link
Get off my lawn.
RE: RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/10/2018 12:45 pm : link
In comment 13828409 Gregorio said:
Quote:


So, the consumer wants a phone, but ends up with a device that does a million things. Cool as it is, the consumer only wants a phone. Clever marketing for sure.

My solution? I still have an old LG flip phone for text and calls, and I avoid the $800 to $1,000 a year data charges.
Figure in the cost of the new phone to that, and you have pissed away very good money on something you didn't want in the first place.

I get full computer access at home and work. So for the time I am not at either of those, it's just worth the recurring cost.


If by “the consumer” you mean you, OK then. But millions of consumers WANT a phone that can do a million things.

And you’re not saving $800-$1000 in data charges. I pay $800/year for 3 phones, which is less $300 per phone. You can pay less than that if your data needs are low. You’re just trying to feel superior by overstating the money you’re saving.
...  
christian : 2/10/2018 12:48 pm : link
Not be a dick, but some of you guys do realize there is a range of smart phones from less than $200 through a thousand? And carriers will connect these phones.

Obsessing over the top end is literally the equivalent of bemoaning cars because a Porsche 918 is 900K.
RE: RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/10/2018 12:51 pm : link
In comment 13828414 Eli Wilson said:
Quote:

My Samsung tablet does all those things, minus phone calls, better than my smartphone yet only cost $200. Only thing missing is a cell antenna. No way that should cost $500. It is a big ripoff.

Miniaturization comes at cost. Packing all the processing power, memory, etc into a small device is expensive. Though again: you can get a very good smartphone for @ $200 or so.

And your tablet doesn’t have a GPS radio for navigation.
I once had a conversation with a Harley Davidson Exec  
KeoweeFan : 2/10/2018 1:05 pm : link
who was telling me how they slashed manufacturing costs by a huge amount over the previous 5 years.
I then asked him "Then why are you now charging more?"
His answer:
"Because we can."
And personally I don't have any problem with that response.
RE: Gary  
fivehead : 2/10/2018 1:48 pm : link
In comment 13828267 lono801 said:
Quote:
Is that the Moto you can add all the attachments?

Like they show on TV?

If so...do they work well?


I have the Moto Z play, and it takes the mods. I mostly use the battery pack that charges wirelessly, and slip that off to put it into the mod dock in my truck. The speaker mod is pretty cool, but I don't really use it much. Overall, I'd say the mods are a gimmick, but I like that I have two batteries in one phone, and a car dock that is custom to the phone.
RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
Matt M. : 2/10/2018 2:55 pm : link
In comment 13828212 ZogZerg said:
Quote:
for a smart phone. You can by some models much cheaper.

But, if you spend that kind of money you get an incredible product that can do so many impressive things. Some of which include:

Music player
stream music
GPS
Navigation
Super awesome photos
High Def video recorder
Consumer Wallet - pay bills without carrying a wallet
On-line banking
on-line bill payment
Send documents and messages to a printer
High res display
Watch movies
Watch news
Read news
Breaking news
Google at your finger tip
flash light
calculator
video call
blah blah blah

Oh yeah, you can even make a regular phone call..

In short, you have a high tech computer device at your finger tips, if you wish. If you don't, then you can still buy a much cheaper one.
But,I buy $125 samsung models that do all that wjth no complaints
Go to HSN.com  
Massgman : 2/10/2018 3:29 pm : link
I just got a Samsung luna tracphone, J3, 5” screen that does all that shit. Cost me $89 with 1500 minutes, 1500 texts and data to boot. No taxes or fees.......when you need to refill. Go to tracphone
RE: Go to HSN.com  
Gatorade Dunk : 2/10/2018 3:52 pm : link
In comment 13828538 Massgman said:
Quote:
I just got a Samsung luna tracphone, J3, 5” screen that does all that shit. Cost me $89 with 1500 minutes, 1500 texts and data to boot. No taxes or fees.......when you need to refill. Go to tracphone

Just went to Tracfone's website and it looks like 1500/1500 is $125 per fill-up and you only get 1.5gb of data to go along with it. How is that a good deal? What happens when you run out of data but still have minutes/texts leftover or vice versa? Unless you have a particular need to keep your phone off the grid, that seems like an fairly inefficient and expensive way to purchase cell phone service.

Whatever you saved on your phone, you'll give back in paying for your service. It's essentially the old subsidy model, but in a pay-as-you-go environment.
RE: Pretty sure you can still buy an old flip phone.  
short lease : 2/10/2018 7:38 pm : link
In comment 13828200 Brown Recluse said:
Quote:
But you won’t. You’ll just bitch about how expensive and unnecesary these newfangled devices are and go buy one anyway (this is how customers let this happen)

:)


That is how it happened but, I did buy a flip phone. I kept looking at that $100.00 phone bill every month asking myself "Why do I really need this thing ... to settle an argument?" I can get an answer to anythig I want when I get home. I can also read my email when I get home .... without being distracted.



34.00 dollars for the flip and I love it.



btw, my flip has internet access and I can read my email.
RE: RE: Pretty sure you can still buy an old flip phone.  
Diver_Down : 2/10/2018 8:08 pm : link
In comment 13828794 short lease said:
Quote:
In comment 13828200 Brown Recluse said:


Quote:


But you won’t. You’ll just bitch about how expensive and unnecesary these newfangled devices are and go buy one anyway (this is how customers let this happen)

:)



That is how it happened but, I did buy a flip phone. I kept looking at that $100.00 phone bill every month asking myself "Why do I really need this thing ... to settle an argument?" I can get an answer to anythig I want when I get home. I can also read my email when I get home .... without being distracted.



34.00 dollars for the flip and I love it.



btw, my flip has internet access and I can read my email.


I was a semi-Luddite and held out in adopting a smart phone. I was quite happy with my flip phone. My problem was that my eyesight wasn't improving even with corrective lenses. I couldn't make out the different icons in the status bar. Apparently, my sister had left me a voicemail and it was a month before I even realized she had. So I begrudgingly upgraded to a smart phone with a larger screen.
RE: RE: RE: You don't need to spend that kind of money  
Gregorio : 2/11/2018 12:57 am : link
In comment 13828420 Jim in Fairfax said:
Quote:

And you’re not saving $800-$1000 in data charges. I pay $800/year for 3 phones, which is less $300 per phone. You can pay less than that if your data needs are low. You’re just trying to feel superior by overstating the money you’re saving.


Jim, I didn't intend to feel superior. My apologies for coming off that way.

I am interested in cutting costs out of my budget. Yes, for me, I don't want or need a hand held computer everywhere I go. So I am satisfied with a basic flip phone. For those who truly want all the computer features, and not only the ability to make phone calls, it makes sense.

I do believe many smart phone/data plan purchasers initially wanted to make phone calls, but became enamored with all the smart phone features, and now feel they can't live without them. There is an element here of sucking people into buying features they didn't want.
RE: I once had a conversation with a Harley Davidson Exec  
DennyInDenville : 2/11/2018 1:08 am : link
In comment 13828432 KeoweeFan said:
Quote:
who was telling me how they slashed manufacturing costs by a huge amount over the previous 5 years.
I then asked him "Then why are you now charging more?"
His answer:
"Because we can."
And personally I don't have any problem with that response.

Amen.

...

To the OP, team Iphone
Tracfone can be a good deal  
JohnF : 2/11/2018 2:27 am : link
But, you need to be smart about it.

1) The phones Tracfone try to sell you are junk (not enough memory, too much pre-loaded crap). And the phones they resell through HSN are junk, too.

However, Tracfone does have a BYOP (Bring your own phone) program, which fits most cell phones that are off plan (and unlocked). You need to know what Phone Company Tracfone are re-selling, though, and if your phone is supported. For my area, it's Verizon, so I get great coverage...I just sent for the sim card kit from Tracfone (I have an unlocked Verizon Motorola Droid).

2) I get the year plan for $200 dollars (4500 minutes, 4500 texts, and 4.5 gig of data). If I run low on data, I can get 1 gig for $10. There's a Tracfone app that will show you how much you have left, or you can log into the website. You can also purchase a plan to cover if you run over, though it really shouldn't be necessary.

I'm on the grid most of the time, though. I simply shut off data, and use wireless (Home, work, and free hot spots). I only use regular data when I can't get a connection and need to get online (for example, when I use Google Maps for driving directions).

Oh, and I don't use Facebook on my phone, nor do I stream videos...both of those would kill my allotment in a few weeks. I use Facebook on my PC when I need it, and I convert movies to 3GP format so they fit on my phone if I want to watch them there. If I want to send a lot of pictures, I wait until I get to my PC, transfer them to it, and send them (using my home ISP).

I also track what apps are using data, and if they aren't necessary (or won't work using wireless only), I get rid of them. So far (since 07/01/17), I've used 1.5 gig of my 4.5 gig allotment (my renewal data is 07/01/18).

Now,this is NOT going to fit for everyone, but for me it beats the hell out of paying a thousand or more per year on data. It just takes some discipline, a bit of work (clicking the data button on and off), and being willing to not be online 100% of the time (though I can get calls and texts any time).

As others have said, you can get great phones (Samsung 7) inexpensively...I got a Motorola Droid for $101 on Ebay, and the thing runs great. And I only pay $200-$250 a year for my plan, so I can use the money other things I like.
JohnF........Good tracphone explanation  
Massgman : 2/11/2018 9:23 am : link
Except for one thing........I totally disagree about the phones through HSN being crap. My wife and I have had great luck with both the LG and Samsung
Thanks for the correction  
JohnF : 2/11/2018 11:01 am : link
The ones I saw were bad (only 4-8 gigs of storage, which really isn't enough), but there may be others that are better now. If it works for you, that's the main thing!
Just buy one a couple models older...  
Torrag : 2/11/2018 1:53 pm : link
...and it will last you plenty long enough. Then replace it in two years when you are due for an upgrade. Rinse, repeat.
My buddy  
Bleedin Blue : 2/11/2018 5:19 pm : link
Buys his phones from China. They’re an android opposed to everyone’s darling I-phone. He buys one for himself and his two kids $300 each and his wife buys the latest iPhone. He swears by them, had one problem over the past 5 years.
RE: As other people have said, there are a lot of cheaper options  
Alan in Toledo : 2/12/2018 8:28 am : link
In comment 13828255 Gary from The East End said:
Quote:
All the big Android phone makers have mid-range and low end phones. They work just fine. I have a Motorola Moto G5 plus that cost me $239 plus tax back in September and I'm very happy with it.

I got my wife the Galaxy S8 because that's what she wanted and I can deny her nothing.


+2 (wife and me for $229 + tax; very good phone)
who the hell pays 700 for a phone?  
djm : 2/12/2018 11:08 am : link
..
RE: Just buy one a couple models older...  
djm : 2/12/2018 11:09 am : link
In comment 13829144 Torrag said:
Quote:
...and it will last you plenty long enough. Then replace it in two years when you are due for an upgrade. Rinse, repeat.


Exactly. And sometimes you can even get the newer model and not pay much at all.

REPUBLIC WIRELESS.  
x meadowlander : 2/12/2018 11:17 am : link
Phones are reasonable, plans are CHEAP.

Trade-off is limited data - you get 1GB per month, but if you go over, they don't hammer you too bad.

Wifi is unlimited.

My family - wife and sons, we have 5 phones total, our bill is under $125 EVERY MONTH.

We were Sprint, we were AT&T - fuck em' all.

Republic rules. Cut our phone bill MORE than in half.
RE: who the hell pays 700 for a phone?  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/12/2018 11:36 am : link
In comment 13829758 djm said:
Quote:
..

Given that Apple has a current market capitalization of $800 billion, I’d say a few.
RE: The prices didn't skyrocket;  
Rover : 2/13/2018 12:12 pm : link
In comment 13828210 Gatorade Dunk said:
Quote:
the pricing model just changed.

A large portion of the retail price of your phone used to be subsidized by the carrier and baked into your bill, which also had restrictions on things like minutes and messages. The phones themselves weren't actually discounted; you paid the same amount for your phone as you do now, but you didn't see it broken out that way. And if you didn't take advantage of the upgrade every two years, you continued to pay that all-in bill long after the subsidy had been paid back.

Now, you pay the full freight for the the phone with plans that are entirely built around data. You can finance the phone through your carrier, which essentially has the same effect as the old model, except that it's fully transparent so that you know what portion of the bill is tied to the hardware vs. the coverage, and the cost of the phone drops off your bill when it's paid off.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the current $700-$1000 retail pricing model is actually a better deal for the consumer than the old subsidized "discount" model.

Huh?
How did the carrier subsidize the phone before and put it in the bill?
RE: RE: The prices didn't skyrocket;  
Gatorade Dunk : 2/13/2018 4:06 pm : link
In comment 13831086 Rover said:
Quote:
In comment 13828210 Gatorade Dunk said:


Quote:


the pricing model just changed.

A large portion of the retail price of your phone used to be subsidized by the carrier and baked into your bill, which also had restrictions on things like minutes and messages. The phones themselves weren't actually discounted; you paid the same amount for your phone as you do now, but you didn't see it broken out that way. And if you didn't take advantage of the upgrade every two years, you continued to pay that all-in bill long after the subsidy had been paid back.

Now, you pay the full freight for the the phone with plans that are entirely built around data. You can finance the phone through your carrier, which essentially has the same effect as the old model, except that it's fully transparent so that you know what portion of the bill is tied to the hardware vs. the coverage, and the cost of the phone drops off your bill when it's paid off.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the current $700-$1000 retail pricing model is actually a better deal for the consumer than the old subsidized "discount" model.


Huh?
How did the carrier subsidize the phone before and put it in the bill?

A standard amount of money - call it $500 for argument's sake - was discounted from the retail price of all phones that a carrier sold. This wasn't an advertised discount, mind you; it was a marketing decision that the phone itself (and the price thereof) was driving consumer behavior. Essentially, the actual hardware was being used as a loss leader to hook customers into new or renewed contracts.

Except it wasn't truly a loss leader; the subsidy was baked into your bill, but it wasn't broken out where you could see what went to the service and what went to the subsidy. That meant that even after you paid off the subsidy (which you didn't know you were paying off), your bill didn't actually go down.

A couple of years ago, the major carriers all started to use some of the same tricks as the airline industry - use full transparency to break out the monthly charge associated with the phone itself in order to display the lowest monthly service charge possible (similar to airlines breaking out baggage fees, for example, to compete for the lowest fare).

The net effect was negligible - most people's bills remained basically flat. If they were paying $100 before, now they were paying $75 + $25. But they had the power to determine the elements of their bill separately, and the carriers had the ability to advertise lower rates. The only downside was that a phone that used to be advertised as $300 was now $800, even though the MSRP of the phone itself hadn't changed - the subsidy was just eliminated.

Does that make sense?
Timing is key  
NYG27 : 2/13/2018 4:23 pm : link
several providers will have promotions of buy one, get one free.

So while my phone was $799 (S8 Plus), I got another S8 Plus for free for my wife. So I looked at it as $400 per, which was more manageable.
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