Verizon and A&T are both considering the switch to full-priced cell phones, according to a recent Reuters report. The two carriers are are weighing whether to follow T-Mobile into the non-subsidized smartphones territory and offer monthly installments.

“That’s something we’ve looked at on several occasions. I kind of like that idea…It’s something we’re going to be watching.” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, a tad guarded, says the idea is “very intriguing” but worries customers won’t want to pay full-price for devices.

T-Mobile is expected to sunset Classic Plans this year and will move to full-priced handsets though it isn’t clear when this takes effect.

Via: Electronista

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  1. They don’t seem to mention that their plans would have to come down in price a lot for this to be at least neutral for the customer.

    • That’s because they won’t. They just see it as a way to make more money by eliminating the subsidized price.

  2. I would be very happy to pay full price for my phone if the following was true:

    1) I could pick my phone to be ANY phone I want that is compatible with the carrier’s technology without the carrier having any say into which phones are and which phones aren’t approved for use in their network (Since when does AT&T tell me which phones I can’t connect to their POTS landlines ? Why should the wireless carriers have this say?).

    2) I could have whatever software I want on my phone and the carrier would have no say on this (hello, I want to use my phone as a hotspot, that should be my right, I should not have to pay you extra for using the bandwidth that I am already paying for just because I am sharing it with other devices. I pay for a certain amount of bits per month. How I use them should be my decision, not the carriers.). The carrier would also have no say on putting any bloatware that I don’t want on my phone

    3) I would obtain firmware upgrades directly from the manufacturer without the carrier blocking when they can be done (yes, that means you Verizon …shame on you for the treatment of the Galaxy Nexus !!!)

    4) The subsidy that I used to obtain from the carrier before on the price of the phone would now be a reduction in my monthly bandwidth usage price from the carrier (Yes, carriers, if you want a bald-headed girlfriend, she can not also have pony tails …you want to charge us more for the phone, you damn better charge us less for our spectrum usage)

    5) The carrier would not be able to hold me hostage to any contract time for any reason (I did not benefit on you giving me a subsidy on my phone, ergo, you will not benefit on holding me hostage to pay you a monthly fee for as long as you want).

    Yes, I would love a non-subsidized phone with things working as above.

  3. There are a few issues here. The first is ensuing that both phones and networks are unlocked. The locking thing is part of what you’re giving into due to subsidies for your device. But Spring and Verizon don’t lock their phones — they lock their networks. That has to end… a CDMA2000 + LTE device would have to work, out of the box, on either network.

    The other thing is that we put up with entirely fictional MSRPs on these devices because almost no one pays that price. That’s there because the telcos control their networks and buy phones at heavy discounts from the MSRP. So they’re either crazy priced, the manufacturer loses money on every device, or you go the Google route and don’t bother trying to sell to telcos anymore, and thus, you can lower the MSRP in line with other kinds of CE devices. That’s got to be part of this change, and actually, if I can buy a device unbundled online somewhere for far less, it’s pretty inevitable the change happens.

    You’d also need a lowering of the telco’s rates, since they’re not subsudizing that phone anymore. Thing is, they’re projecting value that’s not there… you get a $600 phone that cost them $300 for $200 and think you got a $400 value, so you’re willing to pay a little more. If that really stops, the price will have to go down… but consumers have to demand it. Verizon just effectively raised their rates 20% by shuffling around the voice, text, and data plans, at least for new plans. And their sales went up!

    And the final thing that needs to go are voice, text, and data plans. It’s all data, after all. Hopefully the Sprint/Softbank thing is heading that way, maybe forcing the rest of the industry to follow, just as T-Mo’s eliminating the contract is making the others think.

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