Damn this iPhone-induced cough!

Julie Ask at Jupiter Research has an interesting post about the challenges and opportunities a company (cough – Apple – cough) might face in selling an unlocked phone and the challenges and opportunities a consumer (cough – Macalope – cough) might face getting a service provider for it.

  • SB:

    Reading that makes me soooo glad I am not in the US. It does make me wonder what Apple will do (assuming there is an iPhone), given how difficult the US market is for unlocked phones. The rest of the world is a piece of cake, but not the US. Maybe they will only sell unlocked phones overseas, and forget the US (LOL). Should be interesting to see what happens.

  • Well this is in line with my experinces in the US recently. In some markets like Finland unlocked devices are the norm, one does not sign upto contracts in order to get a good deal on calls and sms.

    One might take this apportunity to point back to their previous comments on your site about how hard operators can make this for Apple. Assuming there is an actual iPhone to begin with.

  • Blain:

    That darn cough! Although this certainly works like a vics:

    Does Apple subsidize their hardware with content?

    You know as well as I do, that the answer is a definite no, and possibly the other way around. If nothing, that is an arguement against iphones, not for.

    Although, she doesn’t mention the other solution; let the carriers keep their contracts and lock-in, and sell unlocked phones anyways. I bought my wife’s Sidekick 3 (heh, at a price of $400), and simply moved the sim-card from the freebie (and now, backup) phone to it.

    The other thing she doesn’t mention is a possibility of prepaid phone cards working with unlocked phones.

    Frankly, however, I’m still waiting this one out. Either there is no iPhone (to which I’m leaning) or it’ll be in a form that I certainly can’t imagine. Mostly, the simple ipod UI vs the overly complex phone UI seems to be my major bone of contention.

  • > “how difficult the US market is for unlocked phones”

    Er, I didn’t see much of that in the article. The analyst mainly seemed concerned with getting an equivalent sign-up freebie instead of the standard free phone. She could surely just sign up and sell the free phone on eBay?

    I don’t see this kind of thing hurting Apple if they release the iPhone. In the early days of the iPod, it cost £400 and only worked with Macs. They didn’t have a problem selling it, because it was exactly what the early adopters had been waiting for, and beat the crap out of every other MP3 player.

    I’d speculate that early adopters will be just as happy jumping through the carrier hoops if the iPhone is as good as we hope. And once it’s a bit popular, carriers will be falling over themselves to sign up with Apple to distribute it.

  • Its really easy to use an unlocked phone, at least for GSM carriers(like Cingular). Get the free phone, take out the SIM card, put it in the unlocked phone- viola! Unlocked phone on their network.

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