Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Please click for more information, or scroll down to pass the ad, or Close Ad.
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
APC Free White Paper
Optimize your network investment &
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Personal Tech
Fiercely productive scanners
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Americans Have Fewer Smartphone Choices
Americans Have Fewer Smartphone Choices

By Brendan Nystedt
February 16, 2014 3:19PM

    Bookmark and Share
U.S. consumers have fewer smartphones to choose from compared with their European and Asian counterparts. That's largely due to stunted competition: When providers hide the upfront cost of phones, there's less competition to put out quality devices that you can buy outright. Less-expensive models from smaller companies have a hard time.
 



A flurry of alternative cellphone providers have hit the streets in the past year, offering consumers smartphones that aren't bound by the traditional two-year contract.

But even though new pricing structures from Republic Wireless, Aio, Ting, T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile challenge the traditional payment model, two-thirds of smartphone owners still sign contracts that often include subsidized phones, and the choices available to American subscribers remain limited.

In most European and Asian countries, the mobile market is different, with a host of midrange, affordable phones available to buy outright. So why are Americans still so limited in their phone choices?

It's largely an issue of transparency. In the U.S., traditional plans offer tempting, subsidized upfront prices on must-have phones like the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S4 by getting you to sign a two-year contract. Customers pay off the rest of the phones' cost each month of their contract.

However, when your contract is up, your bill doesn't go down -- even though the phone is more than paid off. Consumers are expected to rinse and repeat, paying an upgrade fee for a new phone and locking in for another two years. By contrast, carriers in Europe and Asia frequently offer plans that only charge for a handset until it's paid off.

Subsidized or not, U.S. consumers still have fewer smartphones to choose from compared with their European and Asian counterparts. That's largely due to stunted competition: When providers hide the upfront cost of phones, there's less competition to put out quality devices that you can buy outright.

Such smartphones exist elsewhere. For example, at last month's International CES in Las Vegas, we saw Meizu's gorgeous MX3. It is slim, fast and performs on par with the $699 Samsung Galaxy S4, but costs only around $410 overseas. Lenovo's Vibe X costs around $415 overseas and features a slim profile and HD screen. But neither the Vibe X nor MX3 is currently sold by U.S. providers.

In the United States, carriers undergo a complex dance with phone manufacturers to decide which handsets to carry. Price, features, size and brand awareness are but some of the factors that go into choosing which handsets make it to store shelves. In a crowded marketplace dominated by major players, some phones just don't make the cut.

"I sense that right now carriers are less willing to take on any (new manufacturer) given the enormous cost associated with bringing these devices to market," said Will Stofega, a mobile analyst for research firm IDC. "They're more willing to stay the course in terms of the usual suspects." (continued...)

1  |  2  |  Next Page >

 


© 2014 USA TODAY under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

jwood:

Posted: 2014-02-24 @ 8:28am PT
Republic Wireless offers a no contract phone for $299 and a plan for $10/month with unlimited talk and text or $25/month for unlimited talk, text, and data.



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Personal Tech
1.   Zynga Launches Mobile FarmVille
2.   Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
3.   Why Netflix Got So Blazingly Fast
4.   Study: Samsung Phone vs. iPhone
5.   Criterion Extends Hulu Streaming Deal


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Michaels Says Nearly 3M Credit, Debit Cards Breached
Arts and crafts retail giant Michaels Stores has confirmed that a data breach at its POS terminals from May 2013 to Jan. 2014 may have exposed nearly 3 million customer credit and debit cards.
 
Heartbleed Could Cost Millions, Could Have Been Prevented
Early estimates of Heartbleed’s cost to enterprises are running in the millions. The reason: revoking all the SSL certificates the bug leaked will come at a very hefty price.
 
Google's Street View Software Unravels CAPTCHAs
The latest software Google uses for its Street View cars to read street numbers in images for Google Maps works so well that it also solves CAPTCHAs, those puzzles designed to defeat bots.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
Google Glass may find its first markets in verticals in which hands-free access to data is a boon. Medicine is among the most prominent of those, as seen in a number of Glass experiments under way.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Google Releases Chrome Remote Desktop App for Android
You're out on a sales call, and use your Android mobile device to grab a file you have back at the office on your desktop. That's a bit easier now with Google's Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android.
 
Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly set to launch a smartphone after years of development. Photos of the phone, which may feature a unique 3D interface, were leaked by tech pub BGR.
 
Zebra Tech Buys Motorola Enterprise for $3.45B
Weeks after Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility’s assets from Google for $2.91 billion, Zebra Technologies is throwing down $3.45 billion for Motorola’s Enterprise business in an all-cash deal.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.