Overpaying For Mobile

Eric Silvka posted an article today talking about how US carriers are gouging their mobile customers with their upgrade programs, then concludes with the following paragraph:

In all cases, customers would seem to be able to save some money by purchasing a contract-free phone upfront for $650 and then reselling it on their own terms whenever they wish to upgrade, almost certainly saving hundreds of dollars in the process.

You think this is bad? You should see what Canadian wireless carriers have been getting away with for years[1] — the CRTC is finally reigning them in this December, though.

  1. And keep in mind, those prices are on 3-year terms. I bought my iPhone 3G on a 3-year term and still paid $199 for it. I actually called my service provider — Fido and asked why I was paying the same subsidy as Americans who are on 2-year terms. I was told that Apple mandated those contract lengths. So I called Apple, they told me my carrier was a liar. Armed with that information I called Fido back and told them what Apple said to me. Then I was informed that it was, in fact, Fido themselves who set the contract lengths. When I recovered from the shock I asked for the number to the corporate headquarters so I could ask someone about why 3-year terms were necessary — the CSRs have no access to any such number and it’s not on their website, just an email address. I took it upon myself to email them daily for about two months… no reply. I gave up. With 6 months left on my contract I lined up on launch day for a brand new iPhone 4S (that’s right my early upgrade from my iPhone 3G was a 4S). After signing my contract and coming home I got my confirmation email. Turns out I did not extend my contract to 3 years, I extended it by 3 years! Meaning my contract is up in April of 2015. 2015! I signed a 3.5-year contract to get an iPhone 4S 6 months early. Absolutely incredible.  ↩