Customers paying more and putting up with mobes for longer
Shiny toys meet recession
Mobile phones are lasting Americans more than 20 months these days, which is good as the average bill has risen to $78 a month, according to JD Power.
Those facts may be related, as longer contracts are used to subsidise more expensive handsets. That forces users to be content with what they've got for 17 per cent longer than they did last year, while paying almost $10 a month more than they were in 2007. But handsets are very shiny these days.
JD Power asked almost 20,000 Americans (12,000 of whom had smartphones) about their relationship with their handset, which seems seems to be turning from a brief fling into a committed affair.
"Customers are delaying an upgrade purchase due to the general economic downturn, in which the expense of purchasing a new device could outweigh the added benefit of owning it" says the company, obviously unaware of the immeasurable value of being able to play Angry Birds on the bus.
Despite (or perhaps because of) users' reluctance to shell out for new handsets the average price has fallen from $81 at the start of 2009 to $76 now, though 42 per cent of those polled didn't pay anything at all for their handset. This could explain the jump in monthly bills as operators struggle to absorb the handset costs, though JD Power has another theory:
"The increase is mainly due to the addition of data-related services, increases in usage activity such as text messaging, and added fees and taxes."
Once they'd got their handsets Apple users were as smug as ever, with the iPhone winning in every satisfaction category except battery life (which unsurprisingly goes to Nokia). HTC came a close second, though when asked how satisfied they were with the operating system, HTC smartphone users said Android was "better than most", while Samsung Android users gave it the lowest possible mark, indicating that not everyone is familiar with what an operating system is.
Removing smartphones makes LG the winner by a considerable margin. Samsung comes next while Nokia gets another pounding with minimum marks across the board.
That's a very US-centric view, and Americans have yet to get used to the 24-month contracts that are rapidly becoming normal on this side of the pond - after all, we've got to pay for those shiny handsets somehow. ®
The American market is unlike others
This survey is applicable to a single market, may be even Canada but it/they are distinctly different to markets in other parts of the world.
In my country of residence we can buy a promo SIM. Every month I buy a promo SIM for £1.62, get £5.19 total credit, and then I add £5 onto it, and I can use unlimited InterNet on a USB GSM modem. Great deal!
I dupe the SIM and can use multiple devices although only one at a time (no concurrency). All our cell devices are unlocked at sale - it's the law!
end users not a clue
I'll clarify that, most end users dont have a clue why they have a smart phone and smart phone numbers are not driven by end users. Its the networks/handset makers that drive the 'need'. I get asked why I have a Nokia e71 all the time. Why dont I have an iPhone or an Android after all I am a geek.....(FFS). Thats because battery life, making phone calls, tasks, diary, contacts with a little emailing is my main concern not slapping a cat (a fun app on the android). I bet someone shouts oh you can do all that on an iPhone *BATTERY LIFE!* I will shout back at them plus DECENT KEYBOARD being the second bonus for me. So there you have it, tools for the job. Now that HTC Sync can now sync notes (apparently) I am looking at the HTC Desire Z...... Oh shit BATTERY LIFE... Doh!
"after all, we've got to pay for those shiny handsets somehow"
Heck no. They are paying me. I took up a 24 month contract (300 minutes, unlimited texts, 500Mb data) on a 23 months for free (by redemption) deal, and then got another 50 quid back by going through a cashback site when signing up. Free Tocco lite, two years use of it, and 25 pounds profit.
Yes, there's a catch. You have to remember to put in for the money. If you are lazy, forgetful, or disorganized you could end up paying after all.
This deal is still available at mobiles.co.uk, and the extra cashback through:
I also got £60 back from Topcashback when insuring my car (now £80 when you insure with the RAC).
Do Americans not get these deals? They are common in the UK. Some people haven't paid for a phone, or service, in years.