Cell Phone Pricing is All Wrong

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2003-05-19 Print this article Print

Want to buy a cell phone? You'll need your calculator, slide rule, and maybe even your abacus to figure out how much you're going to pay.

Theres something wrong with cell-phone pricing, and I pity anyone who has to try to buy a phone. The system is so messed up, even the vendors cant figure it out.

When I previewed the Nokia 3650 , the company claimed the cost would be a little more than $400. In our recent review, though, we listed a street price of $300. But if you clicked on our shopping link, where we bring you the best prices from lots of vendors, $450 was the lowest.

It gets worse. Because the 3650 is a GSM phone, itll run on multiple networks with just a SIM card swap. That means here in the US, AT&T Wireless, Cingular, and T-Mobile can each offer the phone (but they configure it in an appalling lockdown mode that restricts it to a single service). Heres where pricing really got interesting. T-Mobile charged $250, but with a $100 rebate. AT&T did even better. You could get the phone, after rebate, for just $50. Cingulars price was $350.

For the whole story, check out the PC Magazine article
With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including ExtremeTech.com, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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