Is the Huawei way the right way?

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Huawei will be selling the Ascend Mate2 4G LTE direct to consumers via GetHuawei.com. Read that again: direct to consumers! For our readers across the pond and in various parts of the world outside these United States, that might not sound odd, interesting, or unique. However, for those of us in the States, it’s somewhat unusual.

Most phones over here are sold with a contract. Sometimes they’re peddled by a carrier, but more often than not they’re offered by an “authorized reseller” or “value added reseller”. That might be a store down the street, a kiosk in the mall, a big box store, or even an online vendor like Amazon. These resellers can often cut you a pretty “sweet” deal on a phone because they’re getting their cut of the bill you pay every month.

Back in my days before Pocketnow I had a Nokia phone. It cost $250 and two years of my life. If I cancelled the contract before then I would have been subject to a $400 early termination fee from the carrier (Voicestream at the time) and another $400 early termination fee by the authorized reseller (at least that’s how I understood the contract). Getting that phone would have cost me over $1,000 if I’d gotten buyer’s remorse. Ultimately, it ended up costing me about $1700 (if memory serves) to keep the phone and pay for the service for those two years. My how times have changed.

Perhaps not that much

google-play-editionsFast-forward a decade or so: prices haven’t changed a whole lot (although the service has), and we’re still buying our phones primarily from dealers and carriers. Google has been quietly upsetting the apple cart by offering unlocked phones under both the Nexus and Google Play Edition brands. These are phones that work primarily with GSM carriers, all you’ve got to do is pop in an activated SIM, boot up, and you’re set! Your plan doesn’t have to be jacked up to include the cost of buying the phone over time, and you can even get away without a contract if that’s what you’d like. It’s how I’ve bought my last three smartphones, and I love it!

Now Huawei looks like it’s positioning to do the same thing by selling directly to the public without any pesky carrier or “value added reseller” to get in the way. What’s more, the Ascend Mate2 4G LTE is slated to sell for only US$299 — which beats every Nexus in the Play Store.

OnePlus is doing something similar, and ZTE even sells some of its phones on eBay! Is this the future?

Give me direct and unlocked, or give me death!

Give me liberty, or give me death

Who knew this flag was actually about cell phones?!

Absolutely, yes! Give the consumer what they want! Give it to them for a fair price. Cut out the middle-man and distribution channels which each take their cut of the action at every step along the way. Prices will drop. Options will soar. People will be happy, and there will be much rejoicing!

These phones, unencumbered from the bloat that carriers inflict upon us will have more room to do what we want with them. They will be more up-to-date because they won’t have to undergo carrier sign-offs for patches. Despite the increased up-front costs, they’ll save us money over the life of the contract – to which we are no longer are chained!

Carrier subsidized, for the win!

carrier-logosGood grief, no! First of all, carriers order phones in huge amounts, sometimes in the tens of thousands at a time. You don’t think they can negotiate better pricing with quantities like that?!

Carriers offer exclusive content that you simply can’t get anywhere else.  What’s more, it’s way too expensive to throw down hundreds of dollars on a phone up front, carriers let you buy it over time so you can get a great phone without having to break the bank.

Your turn

There are obviously pros and cons to getting carrier subsidized smartphones versus buying them directly from the manufacturer. What’s your preference, and why? Do you have any horror stories that could have been avoided if you’d have chosen differently? How do you feel about buying a phone from its manufacturer through a site like eBay?

Head down to the comments and share your thoughts, fears, and stories!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.