- 12-26-2012, 05:47 PM #1
In the USA, to get a Windows Phone, you have to either sign up for an expensive contract with a pricey ETF, or you have to buy the phone outright for around $600 and STILL buy full-priced "contract-like" service from a major carrier.
But the fastest-growing segment of the US wireless market is prepaid.
RIM, Samsung and Huawei ship millions upon millions of perfectly good $99 to $200 smartphones, off contract, to carriers like Boost, Cricket, MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile, all of whom have awesome rate plans, great coverage and no contracts.
Even Apple is getting into the act with its unlocked iPhone 5 and Virgin's no-contract iPhone 4S.
Windows Phone is missing, and it shouldn't be. Where are the cheap and cheerful 8S or 620 handsets on the big prepaid carriers?
- 12-26-2012, 06:07 PM #2
Everything I've seen regarding the 620 just mention release in overseas markets. I would think some carrier here would be interested in it as a prepaid. Same for the 8s but to be honest I haven't really looked for any info on it. But I like it's appearance better than the 8x. And does HTC consider it a low end, prepaid phone?
12-26-2012, 07:40 PM #5
- 254 Posts
I bought my Lumia 920 off contract for $449, it is running with a Net10 sim . Everything unlimited for $50 dollars a month
If you go to AT&T they give you the phone for $99 and you have to sign a contract for 2 years paying $120 at least every month for the service if you are new with them. So i think i can't complain. I have the phone i want , i have a cheap plan for what Net10 gives me and if i don't pay my credit doesn't get affected and i don't have to pay any fine.
- 12-26-2012, 11:34 PM #6
I'm talking about pre-paid, you're all in, comes-in-one-box-with-everything-you-need phones. You typically buy them in a fancy graphics-covered cardboard box, branded for the prepaid carrier, buy a card for your first month's credit, and go.
Samsung sells a boatload of Androids this way. RIM sells a ton of Curve 93XX series phones this way too... $99 for the phone, $50 for your first month's service, and bam -- you're up-n-running.
Having to scrounge for a rare WP8 unlocked handset, or settle for an obsolete WP7, isn't the same.
- 12-28-2012, 07:43 AM #10
This is a good question. When the 920's exclusivity was announced, I started looking around at MVNOs, and while I still would consider that I don't know much, I did learn quite a bit more than I knew before. I wasn't aware that none of the MVNOs have LTE, for instance. That's a downer. Also, it's difficult to find information as to whether I would be able to take a Verizon phone to a CDMA MVNO and get it to work, as there is so much conflicting information out there - even if I was willing to settle for 3G on a 4G phone. And for me, it would have to be a CDMA that would use Verizon's net, not Sprint's because Sprint's coverage is terrible here, and most of them use Sprint's net. Also, ATT/TMO coverage is no good, so GSM MVNOs are out.
Basically, all that research told me that I can't go anywhere right now. I'm stuck on Verizon. Yet there are people walking around here with their MetroPCS phones, and such..... I can't help but wonder why people put up with such bad coverage.... But yes, there is a demand, and no, Normals don't go rooting around ebay looking for a Windows Phone so that they can take it to Straight Talk and get a SIM for it. They walk into Walmart and buy one off the shelf, so it's either an Android or a flip. They walk into the Walmart Wireless store up front, and walk out with Virgin Mobile, or they go down the road to MetroPCS and buy a cheap Android off the rack. If they're really adventurous, they go to Frys a half an hour away, get suckered into the Clear display, and then take it back and fight for months to try to get a refund, and lose out in the end, because the coverage is pathetic from them in our area. But what they don't do is go looking for an unlocked Lumia 920 so they can go on the internet and buy a SIM from Straight Talk to put in it. That's what geeks like us do.
brmiller is right - we need to see prepackaged Windows Phones on the prepaid wireless carriers' shelves.
12-29-2012, 07:09 PM #11
- 90 Posts
BRMiller and HopMedic, you are both right! WP8 is not easily available to prepaid shoppers like us. This is a real bummer since it would be my platform of choice. Buying the the Nokia 920 from AT&T and then going on StraightTalk with 3G data is what some folks are talking about. This is not a neat, clean experience. It doesn't give me an unlocked phone and I am forced to use AT&T's network. This is forcing me to put off making a decision until hopefully a better option comes along.
- 01-05-2013, 05:40 PM #12
Sorry, guys, but NOBODY except WP die-hards will bother tracking down an unsubsidized 920 and then locating a pre-paid carrier for which it will work.
To succeed in prepaid, the phone has to be ready, right out of the box, with service. And it probably needs to be CDMA (ugh) because the primary use for CDMA over the next 10 years as it's shut down will be prepaid services.
- 01-05-2013, 06:32 PM #14
Yep, and it's T-Mobile only. Drop your SM SIM in a Lumia 920 on AT&T, and you'll need an unlock code to get it to work.
And it's still lots of work, especially configuring all the messaging settings for the new carrier.
I want a Lumia 620 or HTC 8S or what have you in a box, for prepaid, ready to just activate. That would sell millions and millions of devices across the USA and Canada.
- 01-05-2013, 06:40 PM #16
- 01-05-2013, 07:30 PM #17
And Nokia could sell millions of 620s. Just drop a CDMA chip in there for the CDMA prepaid carriers, box 'em in branded boxes, and put them in 7-11 stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, Radio Shacks, Targets, Walmarts, and vending machines across America, with el-cheapo MetroPCS, Cricket, Boost Mobile, Tracfone and other plans.
- 01-06-2013, 08:25 AM #18
I picked up an 820 for $350 (thru a local retailer but I believe the microsoft store also sells it at that price). Yes it's locked to AT&T so you'd be best to stick with an AT&T MVNO, Straighttalk, net10, etc. ... not sure if there are (real) unlock options for the 820 yet.
- 01-06-2013, 10:31 AM #19
Good question. The Lumia 620 seems like the perfect "cheap and cheerful" prepaid candidate, or possibly even the 510 running 7.8 or the rumored 520 on WP8. My guess is that Nokia is more focused on the higher margin carrier phones right now. I think we'll see inexpensive pre-paid WP 8 phones eventually, but it could be a while. It's probably pretty low on their list of priorities because the margins are much smaller and the non carrier 7-11 type phones don't have the benefit of a carrier helping to adverstise/push them.
From a cost standpoint, it's probably still practical for Nokia to sell Symbian S40 pre-paid phones, at least in the hypothetical 7-11 scenario.
01-06-2013, 12:30 PM #20
- 236 Posts
I bought my HTC 8X for $600 at the unsubsidized price at T Mobile, and they had no issues with putting me on an $60/month pre-pay plan. Sure, more than TracPhone rates, but seeing as how I was paying over $110/month under contract on AT&T, this is a $50/month savings for me.
And, as far as locked goes, $20 to cellunlocker.net got my phone unlocked, and I have verified with an AT&T based MVNO SIM.
By contrast, I TRIED to buy a Lumia 920 from AT&T at their advertised no-contract price, and two of their stores refused to sell to me, despite having them in stock.
- 01-06-2013, 06:48 PM #21
$600 is way out of the prepaid price range... MetroPCS sells the Galaxy S III at a similar price point, and it's just too pricey for the demographic. Ditto for Virgin Mobile's iPhone 4/4S, which is selling very slowly.
Lots of working-class people (the vast majority of the country) have difficulty affording expensive Android, iPhone or BlackBerry phones. WP 8 works better on low-cost hardware than Android, and could "democratize the smartphone." A $250 WP handset is EXACTLY in the sweet spot... a much better experience than the creaky Android handsets that they're shifting at that price point.
Nokia needs to give up its short-term dreams of dominating high-end phones, and focus on volume. If they grab a prepaid customer who loves his Nokia 620, he's going to be loyal to the brand if he decides to kick up to a contract phone (or a high-priced unlocked phone like the 9XX series).
HTC also packages a bunch of prepaid phones with Android (the One V and Evo 3D are both big sellers on Virgin, Boost, Cricket, Metro, etc.) Why not get the 8S into the mix, too?
Both Nokia and HTC could use a shot in the arm. Sure, the prepaid business isn't "sexy," but it is profitable and helps the brand get credibility with everyday consumers. Millions and millions of WP8 devices on prepaid networks grow the base of users and make WP a more "everyday" phenomenon.
There's a great open Window (yuk yuk yuk) right now, before RIM gets in with its entry-level BB10 devices that are shipping shortly after the first wave of BB10s. RIM does a crackin' business on prepaid with cheap Curves.
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