And I don't exactly get to vote with my feet since I'm locked into their two-year minimum contract.
Matt Yglesias, perceptive man that he is, notices as well:
Mobile phones have changed enormously over the past six years, but the mobile phone business model has not. You buy a magical device for practically nothing, then find yourself locked into a two-year contract with a baffling, shockingly expensive monthly bill. Not coincidentally, the companies that have led the smartphone revolution—Apple and Google—are consistently among the most admired in America while everybody hates Verizon and AT&T, the leading cellphone operators. The gadgets are great, the billing process is a nightmare.
He mentions this by way of noting that T-Mobile is going the other way: no cheap or free devices with a lower monthly bill.
Having just re-signed my two-year contract with Sprint a few months ago, and thoroughly regretting the "free" phone I selected, I welcome this move. I could have gotten a iPhone for a couple hundred bucks, but no....I went for free.
And got a phone that is five years out of date and doesn't hold a charge for more than 12 hours.
My choice is to pay out the nose for a new one, only to still be locked into Sprint's anti-competitive contract...or I can take the hit, pay the early cancellation fee, and sign up with the promotional plan for some other carrier.
Either way, I'm going to be out a couple hundred of bucks, even more so if I joined up with T-Mobile. Short term....looks like I'm stuck with no good options.
But if T-Mobile's plan catches on, it could be good for everyone with a cell phone:
That’s why last week’s announcement is such a game-changer. By dropping the subsidy model entirely, T-Mobile is committing itself to marketing the virtues of honest billing practices. And by securing official Apple support for its network, T-Mobile will be able to compete head-to-head with the other players in terms of handset functionality. If high-end consumers realize what a better deal you can get with the nonsubsidized model, then ultimately AT&T and Verizon will have to start offering that option to compete.
Cell phone companies actually competing? Inconceivable!