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Phones

Smartphone subscriptions are here, but should you care about it?

By Roland Udvarlaki June 16, 2022, 12:00 pm
Fairphone smartphone subscription Source: Fairphone

Smartphone subscriptions will be the future, whether we like it or not, and Fairphone is among the first companies to announce such a service. Today, the company revealed its subscription service to help users purchase its sustainable and easily repairable Fairphone 4 smartphone.

Fairphone Easy is a brand new subscription service that allows customers in the Netherlands to purchase the FairPhone 4 for a fixed monthly fee, rather than buying it outright for €579. Interested customers will be able to buy the easily repairable Fairphone 4 for only €21 per month, assuming the user signs up for a 60-month (that’s five long years) plan. Users can also select from 3, 12, and 36-month plans at different prices. The subscription also requires an initial €90 deposit upon signing up. The plan includes the Fairphone 4 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in the Green color.

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The subscription’s price is flexible, and it decreases over time, assuming that the phone is kept in mind condition and there are no cracks, water damage, or anything that would affect the device’s performance and usability over the period.

Fairphone 4
Fairphone 4 is easy to repair due to the unique design
Source: Pocketnow, Fairphone

The subscription service is aimed to make purchasing smartphones easier, more affordable and environmentally friendly. Fairphone is known for its focus on making things more sustainable, and it wants to reduce e-waste. We have also written an article about how you can ethically get rid of your electronics. It’s also worth noting that Fairphone offers a 5-year warranty on its devices, whereas most other companies usually only offer 1-2 years.

As a quick recap, the Fairphone 4 is powered by a Snapdragon 750G chipset, and it has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of expandable storage. It has a 6.3-inch FHD+ display, a 48MP primary, a 48MP ultrawide camera on the back, and a 25MP selfie camera on the front. It has a 3,905 mAh battery, and it supports 20W wired charging. The phone allows customers to easily replace batteries, cameras, and other components at affordable prices.

Smartphone subscription services are the future

Smartphone subscription services are inevitable and will play a big role in the future as companies look for new business models to bring in an even more stable stream of revenue. Subscription models are highly profitable, and many services rely on them today, such as Microsoft Office 365, Adobe, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and many more. We also heard the news about Apple planning on announcing its own hardware subscription service to allow even more people to purchase expensive iPhones and potentially other products.

What are the benefits of smartphone subscription services?

Smartphones Source: Pocketnow

Subscription services are flexible and allow people to buy goods that previously were out of reach. It’s much easier to pay $30 every month than paying $1,000+ outright for a smartphone or computer, and it’s a trend that has only been steadily growing in the past decade.

Upgrading could also become much more accessible, thanks to the rolling contract between the customer and the company. After a certain period, the user could automatically upgrade to the latest device, requiring them to send the old device back, or keep it for a one-time fee. The latter would be bad for the environment, and most people would likely choose to upgrade, instead of keeping outdated devices.

Depending on the subscription tier, there could be perks, allowing users to take advantage of signing up to other services, much like what carriers are offering today. These could entice users into signing up, and receiving free subscriptions to popular services such as Disney Plus, Netflix, HBO, Spotify and more. There could also be included screen protectors, cases, and even chargers.

Are there any disadvantages?

While these subscriptions allow a lot of flexibility, it’s worth highlighting the disadvantages. Giving up on carrier deals could make SIM-only plans more expensive, as network providers would have to increase the prices to compensate for the lost revenue. Carriers could also opt-in and introduce their own subscription packages, or continue operating normally as they do today – which would offer users to keep and own the devices at the end of their contract.

On the other hand, smartphone subscription plans are unlikely to allow users to hold on to their devices, and would likely require customers to send them back after the contract has run out. This has the advantage of being more environmentally friendly, as the company could recycle the device and create new ones from the device’s materials. Still, it would further reduce ownership of goods.

And then there’s the question of who will pay for damaging devices. Subscription services could demand a one-time fee for a replacement device, acting as an insurance package that could come bundled in different tiers. This would add further costs to the plan, making it even more expensive to use a smartphone.

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