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Wireless Networks are better and bigger than they used to be, but consumer complaints about coverage have not tapered off. Mobile device technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, yet we complain about our smartphones. Why? The paradoxical nature of wireless consumer sentiment is rooted in the “inconvenience associated with convenience”. We are forever chasing the moment when we have the latest innovation. The barriers to achieving this temporary nirvana combined with the fleeting nature of it are the greatest sources of disdain for something that should consistently amaze us. Here are 4 perhaps surprising reasons you hate your smartphone.
Reason #1 You Hate Your Smartphone: It’s Too Smart, But Not the Smartest Available
The evolution of cell phones during the last decade has been nothing short of amazing. Advances in technology including the rise of the smartphone and mobile applications have occurred at an unprecedented pace for an industry. Many people can’t even keep up with the capabilities of their own smartphone. More and more I see that it doesn’t take long for our expectations to exceed what we’re able to get out of these devices. We are accustomed and have come to expect this rapid evolution of technology. The latest and greatest smartphone is only the latest and greatest for a month or two before there’s something out there that makes it obsolete. Once we have our device we get two months of being on top of the mobile food chain before being knocked off.
My suggestion in this area is to wait to upgrade until you understand the landscape and technologies that will soon be on the market. Check out www.ctia.org for upcoming smartphone technology that will allow you to stay ahead of the game. AND, Don’t be afraid to talk to every smartphone geek you can find (computer stores, or big box electronics stores are excellent sources of geek knowledge).
Reason #2 You Hate Your Smartphone: I Can’t Get the Latest and Greatest
We can’t upgrade again for two years without paying double or triple the cost of the device for an eligible upgrade. The reason for this is that the phone cost is heavily subsidized by the wireless carrier. That contract is a way to protect the carrier’s investment. This fact is the biggest frustration for mobile consumers. Locking people in a contract for two years on a device that will be obsolete or at least outdated in a few months hardly seems fair. So far no one has come up with a good solution. T-Mobile recently announced the end of contracts on smartphones. You now have the option to not have a contract on a high end smartphone on their network. So, in reality this means you’re still paying the unsubsidized cost of the device, but spreading it out over monthly installments. To me, this seems like you’re buying a phone from rent-a-center. You’re getting nailed either way for the full amount or worse, but it is spread out and doesn’t hit you all at once.
My suggestion for the consumer who wants to future-proof their phone is to check the value of the phone through the major recycling companies. The current buy back on a used iPhone 5 on any carrier is about $340 in excellent condition through www.E-cycle.com or www.Gazelle.com. You could conceivably upgrade to an iPhone 5 for $199.99 on a two year contract, keep it for a few months (in good condition) and upgrade to another smartphone at full retail (around $650). You would have the new phone for 3 months, then upgrade to another device for $310 when factoring in the credit on the iPhone from the recycler. It’s one way to take the sting out of upgrading at full retail when you have not reached your upgrade subsidy date.
Reason #3 You Hate Your Smartphone: My Carrier is the Worst
Several factors may contribute to someone’s allegiance to one carrier vs. another. When the market became saturated the carriers ran out of new customers. It became harder and harder for carriers to come by new customers without stealing customers from each other. To steal customers, the carriers had to focus harder on the strengths of their networks and the weaknesses of their competitors. First this approach happened with voice and today it’s happening with high speed data. We are inundated with commercials touting who has the highest population area covered or who has the largest, most reliable data footprint. With all of this information floating around in our head, we add our own experiences to the mix and usually pick a side. We decide to favor one carrier over another and hold contempt for at least one competing carrier. You will also see this kind of brand loyalty in other industries (like the auto industry) but in wireless it is approaching the divisiveness of politics in an election year. Though largely uninformed, and without scientific method we arrive at the conclusion that carrier x is terrible, and carrier y is the best. If you happen to have service with the former, you have decided your carrier is the worst.
My suggestion is to combine personal experience with third party knowledge like www.ConsumerReports.org, www.RootMetrics.com, or www.PCWorld.com to help gain a better understanding of your preferred carrier.
Reason #4 You Hate Your Smartphone: It’s Too Expensive to Repair/Insure
Insurance options can be very expensive. They are either worth it or a complete waste depending on your behavior, device replacement or repair options, and associated costs.
My suggestion in the Enterprise Account world is to negotiate upgrade eligibility waivers/early termination fee waivers during a contract renewal. These are valuable tools if you need to replace a damaged device in a pinch. If you are an individual liable subscriber, I suggest a rugged case and a third party repair option like www.Gophermods.com. Insurance is still worth it to some individuals whose potential loss in business outweighs the annual cost of insurance.
About the Author
Brian Dykhuizen is the Mobility Manager at Renodis and has over 12 years of experience advising clients in all areas of mobile support.