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Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 21:45 UTC (Wed) by davide.del.vento (guest, #59196)
In reply to: Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones by djs_tx
Parent article: Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/5/3138711/five-years-after...

I moved to the USA from Europe 6 years ago and I was literally shocked by how bad the phone situation was here.

Dunno how Europe is doing right now, but maybe Canonical (UK-based) is doing what I would have done myself if I were in that business: first launch in Europe [1], then advertise in the USA and let the customers push the carriers give them what Europeans had.

[1] In Europe customers buy handsets and the carrier contracts separately, and carriers cannot refuse service to anybody who pays and has a handset following the standard for telecommunications


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Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 21:55 UTC (Wed) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> In Europe customers buy handsets and the carrier contracts separately, and carriers cannot refuse service to anybody who pays and has a handset following the standard for telecommunications.

That's only partly true ... not sure which part of Europe you are talking about but here in Austria it is like that:

You *can* buy a phone and a contract separately or buy a locked phone + contract from a carrier.

In the former case you have to pay the full price of the phone upfront but the contract will be cheaper and your phone will be unlocked.

In the later case you get the phone from the carrier at a subsidized price but get higher rates for your contract, a locked phone and usually can't cancel the contract until after 24 months. If you want to unlock your phone you'd have either to wait for 24 months and pay a small fee or some allow the unlocking earlier but charge a rather large fee for that.

As for the "carriers cannot refuse service to anybody" I don't know if they cannot do that (i.e legally) but they would be stupid if they do given that they would just lose a customer to the competition.

What is that much different in the US?
In the US I have just used prepaid phones from carriers (never stayed long enough to need a contract).

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 22:03 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> What is that much different in the US?

In the US almost all phones are subsidized with contracts.

you don't get cheaper service if you have a phone that you paid full price for.

many phones are unable to work on competing sytems

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 22:12 UTC (Wed) by shmerl (guest, #65921) [Link]

In US the situation is starting to improve. T-Mobile for example offers lower priced plans for non contract / non subsidized devices. However that's about it - all others don't have such options.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 6:54 UTC (Thu) by frazier (guest, #3060) [Link]

T-Mobile has a $30 no voice all data plan that is tempting for an information dork like me who wants mobile Internet but no mobile phone. No contract, no device subsidy.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 5, 2013 23:39 UTC (Sat) by liam (subscriber, #84133) [Link]

Do you have a link to this plan? The closest plan I can find to what you describe gives you 100 min talk and 5GB full speed data for $30. Was that what you had in mind?

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 22:32 UTC (Wed) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> you don't get cheaper service if you have a phone that you paid full price for.

WTF? That makes zero sense.

> many phones are unable to work on competing sytems

Well the CDMA/GSM thing is a technical issue.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 23:47 UTC (Wed) by cwillu (guest, #67268) [Link]

This isn't the CDMA vs GSM thing, it's an actual lock on the phone preventing it from connecting to a competing provider unless you unlock the phone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIM_lock

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 6:48 UTC (Thu) by frazier (guest, #3060) [Link]

Entertainingly enough, in the USA there's now a service called Straight Talk that lets you use a locked GSM phone as long as it's locked to an AT&T or T-Mobile network. We just picked up a barely used AT&T network Samsung Galaxy S II for $150 off craigslist (new they're $350 on the shelf with no contract) and then bought the $15 AT&T-compatible SIM and everything is working fine.

They offer SIMs for T-Mobile, AT&T, and unlocked GSM phones. The CDMA option at top is there to notify you that "This program is not available with CDMA (i.e. Verizon, Sprint, Metro PCS), TracFone, SafeLink, NET10, Straight Talk or BlackBerry phones.":
http://www.straighttalk.com/shopsims

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 13:16 UTC (Thu) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

This isn't different in other countries ... when you buy a phone from a carrier it is locked. My question was what is different in the US. That's not different at all ;)

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 22:09 UTC (Thu) by fdrs (subscriber, #85858) [Link]

Here at Brazil, it is mandatory that Carriers unlock the phone for free.
You still has the contract shackles though.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 2:23 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

>> you don't get cheaper service if you have a phone that you paid full price for.

> WTF? That makes zero sense.

It makes perfect sense for the carriers (they get more money)

it makes sense for users because they don't see it as a phone subsidy, they see it as 'getting a free phone"

but any way you look at it, same price for service with a carrier provided phone or a phone you purchase independently is the reality in the US.

As such, there is a significant disincentive to using an unlocked phone, you have to pay full price for the phone and get no discount off of your monthly bill.

from another comment T-Mobile is starting to buck this trend, and there are a growing number of prepaid options that don't care what phone you use (and are happier if you use your own), but they are still currently exceptions

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 9:35 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

The whole thing works only because prices for mobile connection in US are exorbitant to begin with. My monthly mobile phone bill was under $10/month for years. Now I've gotten smartphone and with "unlimited" Internet (which is severely limited if I go beyong 1GB/month, of course) I pay $25/month (for voice and data: $10 for voice and $15 for "unlimited" data).

It's not possible to hide phone subsidies with prices like that. That's why most of the world pay for the phone upfront while in US (and some other countries) people pay 3-4 times more and think they use "free phone".

Sadly most affluent buyers are gated by carriers thus carriers still can control the future of mobile handsets. Only middle-range phones are created for carrier-uncontrolled world (think Dual-SIM phones).

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 16:27 UTC (Thu) by shmerl (guest, #65921) [Link]

N9 is high end, and is carrier uncontrolled. Same story would be with Jolla handset for sure.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 5, 2013 14:50 UTC (Sat) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

N9 is high end, and is carrier uncontrolled.

N9 is the exception that proves the rule: it was designed by a company with excellent relationship with non-US carriers but at the time when it was actually presented these relationships deteriorated.

That happens (see Palm, RIM, etc), you are correct. I admit my mistake: I only think about somewhat sustainable trends, when some company finds the seed money do develop something only to fail in marketplace these rules don't apply, obviously.

Same story would be with Jolla handset for sure.

If I understand correctly Jolla works with Chinese carriers. We'll see how much what it does will be influenced by them.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 3, 2013 13:22 UTC (Thu) by drago01 (subscriber, #50715) [Link]

> It makes perfect sense for the carriers (they get more money)

Sure but it isn't needed any one of them can start to stop doing this and have an advantage over the competition (like t mobile is apparently doing now). So this should fix itself over time.

> it makes sense for users because they don't see it as a phone subsidy, they see it as 'getting a free phone"

They are just naive .. there is no such thing as a "free phone".

> As such, there is a significant disincentive to using an unlocked phone, you have to pay full price for the phone and get no discount off of your monthly bill.

For someone that is used to a more sane environment where such nonsense does not exits (ex. me) this really sounds odd.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 4, 2013 13:24 UTC (Fri) by wookey (subscriber, #5501) [Link]

> > it makes sense for users because they don't see it as a phone subsidy, they see it as 'getting a free phone"

> They are just naive .. there is no such thing as a "free phone".

It has been my experience over many years that most people prefer a fixed monthly charge over a large upfront cost and low monthly cost even when the former version costs a great deal more over any period longer than about a year.

This seems really odd to me, but it's true.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 4, 2013 17:49 UTC (Fri) by shmerl (guest, #65921) [Link]

It depends on users' expectations. If they plan to change their devices every year or two - then subsidized method can look attractive, but if they plan to use devices longer (and in many cases people do), then there is an obvious benefit in paying more upfront and getting a lower monthly fee for several years.

Canonical to demonstrate Ubuntu on phones

Posted Jan 2, 2013 23:25 UTC (Wed) by Fowl (subscriber, #65667) [Link]

Most (all) Australian carriers either don't lock or have unlocking available for a nominal fee (sometimes free) for the phones that they sell on a contract. If you think about it this makes sense - they already have your money, if you don't want to use their network, hey costless revenue. Of course in most cases the handset is not "subsidised" per se, just offered on credit. That's not to say that the every sans handset plans are actually good value.

Prepaid is another matter as the handsets are actually sold below cost - though even there all the carriers offer unlocking for semi-reasonable fees that often decrease over time.

Mandatory number portability probably also helps consumer (carrier) mobility. The advent of pentaband devices removes the last technical barrier.


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