By John Castell
T-Mobile is looking to make bold moves that could potentially be game changers. In an increasingly competitive field that is being predominantly shaped both technology and device manufacturers rather than the telecommunications companies themselves, it is any wonder that T-Mobile is looking to change the game than continue to struggle with the rules of engagement as they currently stand.
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So, when T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer, Cole Brodman voiced strong opinions relative carrier subsidies by claiming they adversely affecting the mobile industry... his words had deep and reverberating echoes.
According to Mr. Brodman, these subsidies are doing more damage than good to the mobile industry. He explained it as “It actually distorts what devices actually cost and it causes OEMs, carriers — everybody to compete on different playing fields, and I think it is really difficult, especially from a consumer perspective, because it causes consumers to devalue completely the hardware they are using […] It is amazing hardware, but it has become kind of throw away. So, it is unfortunate, you’ve got dual-core, multiprocessor devices with amazing HD screens that get thrown away at 18 months.”
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And to be fair, he has a point. We live in an era of consumption and instant gratification. If something new comes out, we want the bragging rights of being the first of our friends and family to have said technology - the Apple product lines exemplifies this consumer appetite. The subsidies make it easier to underuse and undervalue the hardware in our hands because it is relatively easy and inexpensive to replace when signing multi-year contracts with purchase. Still, there are battery, memory and other accessories that, Cole Brodman, spoke at the most recent GeekWire technology summit in Seattle and voiced opinions about carrier subsidies that are contrary to the norm, it was an expectedly unexpected move t can extend the life and functionality of these devices.
In fact, this may well be revolutionary talk to the current regime. With unlocked cell phones consumers can choose a carrier based on service and best plans. If the telecommunications carriers played by that game, consumers would have more choice and carriers could do what they do best: provide service at a reasonable price.
If the other carriers choose to not follow suit, this kind of move is risky. Brodman believes that if subsidies are removed, the company could compete without the iPhone 4S series as they “have fantastic alternate choices” spanning Android, Windows, and RIM platforms.