Step 2 is the hard part.

Matt Ginzton writes here.

3 Things I Miss in the Mobile Phone Market

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Here’s what I really want from the mobile phone market: I want to be able to

  1. Buy my choice of phone at a fair market price (not one distorted by subsidies)

  2. Use that phone on whichever network I want

  3. Pay for the network service I actually use, at a fair market rate (not restricted by available fixed-usage plans)

Right now, especially in the U.S., none of this is true. Phone purchases are heavily subsidized by mandatory service contracts, hiding the actual cost of the phone and allowing the unsubsidized price to be absurdly high. Phones are generally sold locked for a specific network, preventing you from using it with other networks — even after you’ve paid off the subsidy, if any. And in the US, in addition to this artificial economic barrier, we’ve managed to build separate networks using different incompatible technology (Sprint and Verizon run CDMA networks; AT&T and T-Mobile run GSM networks). Finally, the networks rope you into paying a fixed monthly cost regardless of how much or little you use their service, by pricing ala carte service (for voice and SMS, but especially for data) ridiculously high.

So the status quo, especially in the U.S., is that you have to pick your phone from what’s available for your choice of network (or vice versa); then you get a shiny fancy new phone for a deceptively low price (but woe to you if you break it or lose it or have it stolen or want to upgrade on your own schedule); then you pay back that deceptively low price in your monthly fees for the next couple years (and woe to you if your usage patterns don’t map closely to one of the available “plans”).

I’m not holding my breath, but the above 3 freedoms are what I wish for.