[rescue] OT: cell phone costs

N.Miller vraptor at promessage.com
Thu Jul 10 14:17:56 CDT 2003

On Thursday, July 10, 2003, at 11:27 AM, Frank Van Damme wrote:
> Exactly. In fact, for most people outside the gaming crowd anything 
> sold in
> the last 4 years is fast enough. A P2 at 300 runs Kde perfectly well ;-)
> (ok, make that 2 years if you absolutely want Xp *sigh*).

Nah.  4 years, so long as you upgrade the memory. ;-)

>> And most of them don't want to know, because most knowledgeable
>> people cannot explain it in a way that doesn't make their eyes
>> glaze over.
> True. I have a hard time doing so too. Try to tell your aunt the 
> difference
> between RAM and hard disk space.

RAM is you remembering your son/husband/mother's phone number.
Hard disk space is the address book where you write down the
addresses and numbers of all the people that you send Christmas
cards to.  Not a strictly accurate metaphor, but in the ballpark,
which is generally all you need to do.

>> We see the same problem in our cell phone store: "I want to get
>> the phone for free."  The shocked look on a customers' face
>> when we do the math for them to show them how much they will
>> actually pay for the phone to get it "for free" is priceless.
>> And we do this without getting into the technical details of
>> the phone plans.
> Ah, could you take a minute toexplain that?

Technically, or generally? ;-)

In the US, it's common for cell phone providers do the following:

* charge full retail for the phone if you take a minimum plan for
   12 mo (e.g. less than $39/mo)
* charge a slightly lower cost for the phone as you go up in plan
Most major US carriers require at least a 12 mo contract for new
customers unless you are using a pre-paid phone (v. expensive
per minute charge).

So, if you sit down and do the math for them showing the
difference in price b/w what they need minutes-wise and what
they will have to buy (and not use) to get a free phone, they
are generally surprised.  If you spend $10/mo more for 12 mo
to get a free phone, you've spend $120 for the phone you could
have bought at the beginning for $100.  If you have to go for
an even higher or longer plan because the phone is more
more expensive, it gets worse.

Phones are a loss leader to get you into a contract.  That's
why the phones change so often (to entice people to extend
their contracts or "upgrade" in the middle at full retail).


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