Orange will be offering HTC's Desire S smartphone any day now, the network operator said today. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread-running handset - which Reg Hardware reviewed this week - will be available on a range of pay-monthly plans. The phone costs nothing if it's acquired alongside a £35-a-month or pricier package. HTC Desire …
"The phone costs nothing"
It'd be simply smashing if the mighty Register could take the lead in helping put an end to this kind of folly. The phone does not in any way shape or form cost nothing with a £35/month package. The bundled minutes, text and data will be far inferior to a SIM-free offering at the same price, or the same bundled wotsits would be available SIM-free for considerably less. I know this is stating the obvious, but it really is time the marketing changed (or the ASA bared its teeth for once).
Re: "The phone costs nothing"
I've always gone for the phrase "No up front cost". I think that adequately sums up the situation.
For a start you can probably get that down to a £25 a month contract once places like Phones4u start offering deals like that and you start to play the "I'm going to go elsewhere" game. (I got a Desire HD on a £25 a month contract, down from £35 a month, on T-mobile via this method).
When you consider the cost of any data/minutes/texts bundle available on a SIM-only tariff, plus the cost of the phone SIM-free, I think you'd be hard-pushed to match some of the telco deals (they do, after all, benefit from buying the phones in bulk). Taking off what the phone would have cost SIM-only, I pay less than £10 a month to T-mobile for what is a fairly generous call/data/text package, certainly better value than the equivalent SIM-only deal.
That's certainly better. However, given that (based on Orange's current tariff offerings, which are not exactly like-for-like between contracts and SIM-only, presumably partly to obfuscate reality*), about £10 of every payment of £35 is in fact for the phone, even that up front cost isn't strictly zero.
That's not to say the deal isn't good value (some are, some aren't) but it's still not free. Orange seem to be better than average on these, in fairness, but it's the principle of the thing.
* Based on similar devices, Desire S "free for £35" is likely to come with 700 any-network minutes, unlimited texts and some (unspecified, probably 500MB) data; Dolphin 25 SIM-only is £25 for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB data.
+1, should quote total cost of ownership over X months
El Reg has often banged on about TCO for servers, applications SAAS etc.
They should quote cost of a phone as the total over X months.
It's not free, it's effectively rented. OK, you might own it at the end of the 2 years but by then it'll be obsolete and worth a fraction of what you paid for it. Phones depreciate faster than cars by an order of magnitude!
"Orange has pre-loaded the handset with its Mail and Maps apps."
No, no, no, no. What you meant was:
"Orange has borked a perfectly good handset by mindlessly shovelling in a shitload of useless, branded apps, trial versions of games and "features" which with its incompetent marketing droids have decided that you want."
They have probably compounded their utter stupidity by making their crudware impossible to delete - Even the fucking trial versions of useless apps.
Fortunately I have an excellent ZTE blade (San Francisco) which has been rooted, unlocked (who the hell wants the 'benefit' of Orange's customer indifference^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h service) and the useless bloatware taken off and it's now a prefectly serviceable phone.
I really, really don't understand why phone operators routinely sod up perfectly decent phones with their preconception of what users want, in the first place and then make it impossible to get rid of..
When you look at what they actually offer by way of a 'User experience', its actually pretty insulting. Little wonder that debranded hand sets command the best prices. Maybe the retarded marketing droids are assuming everyone else thinks in the same cockeyed way as them.
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