In the early days of the US mobile phone industry, the carriers wanted to ensure that they could recover their investment in building out the cellular network as quickly as possible. Faced with a chicken/egg problem, they chose to build the network, make the handsets cheap through subsidies to drive customers to try the service, and take their profits later. It worked, except that now we expect handsets to be cheap even as we expect more features than ever in our handsets.
I was fortunate enough to play with a Nexus One just after Christmas, and as I tweeted then, “#wantwantwant”. But reading through the Google Terms of Sale and talking to the contracts department at TMO, I realize that this adventure is far more screwed up than the usual handset subsidy. Continue reading “Cellular suckage”