It’s time for U.S. mobile carriers to focus on being first-class networks, not second-rate retailers and app developers. […]
It’s time to treat the smartphone like any other computing device, to leave the selling and supporting of them to the Best Buys, the Apple stores, the Amazons.
Apple, the country’s most important smartphone maker, took a huge step toward this future last week. It announced that it would sell new iPhones under its own installment plan, which will include a warranty — cutting out the carrier.
Very well said. On one point, though, I do have a different perspective: I think US carriers can’t afford not to sell devices. They sell devices because that promotes the use of their offering, i.e., network (coverage, quality, speed), rate plan features, and customer support. If Carrier A stops selling but Carrier B doesn’t, the latter will soon have more consumers. That’s because no one else except Carrier A will work as hard to ensure that its advantages are well represented at the point of sale. Why is that important? Without that, Carrier A can’t afford to keep investing in its offering. Basically, when a product requires a high level of R&D or capital expenditures, if you don’t control the way its presented and communicated to the consumer, you put that investment at risk. And in the case of wireless service, missing an opportunity to present your product to a customer might result in losing their business – and their family’s – for years. Want an example of another company that invests a lot in developing its products and wants to manage the way they’re presented at the point of sale? Apple.