by Mike Masnick

So Long Fat Cell-Phone Subsidies?

It's always been pretty standard that if you buy your mobile phone from a carrier (as almost everyone does) you're getting it at a huge discount, and the carrier makes up the difference. Now, however, with the carriers struggling, Business Week is suggesting that carriers may start ditching the subsidy and making people pay full price. Of course, the fact that they're planning to do this during a down economy, while trying to get more people to buy fancy new phones for their overhyped new service (that most people don't understand) doesn't bode well. The carriers are still trying to make sure they get a piece of the action at every turn and that means charging for everything. I can certainly understand carriers saying that subsidies only go to those with long term contracts, but they need to be careful or customers are going to wonder why they should pay four times as much for a phone that has a color screen.

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