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Google Charges ETF For Nexus One On Top of Carrier's 165

Posted by kdawson
from the hand-in-the-cookie-jar dept.
dumbnose sends along the news that Google is double-dipping on the Nexus One early termination fee. Ars sorts out the double dose of fine print from Google and T-Mobile. What it boils down to is, if you give up on your Nexus One between 14 days and 120 days after the sale, it will cost you $550: $350 to Google (automatically charged to the credit card you used to buy the phone) and $200 to T-Mobile. After 120 days the Google fee goes away and after 550 days the T-Mobile ETF begins prorating. A poster on Dave Farber's email list provides another perspective on the "restructuring of the handset premium."
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Google Charges ETF For Nexus One On Top of Carrier's

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  • ETF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:10PM (#30742748) Journal
    More like WTF.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      FGITA (F*ck Google in the Ass), that's what they're trying to do to you!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:12PM (#30742768)

    ...evil

    quick, somebody justify and rationalize it

    whew, that was a close one!!

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The phones are subsidized. If you pay full price for your phone you have no termination fee with most carriers. I don't see anything evil about it.

      That's not to say that Google has never done evil, though. But in this cas it isn't.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:13PM (#30742786)

    The discount for buying it with a 2-year plan is $350, so clearly the termination fee has to be more than T-mobile's $200 to deter people from buying with the plan and then cancelling as a way of getting the bare phone at a discount. Now, $550 is a bit absurd, because it's higher than the cost of the bare phone, but these sorts of fees are often higher than would make sense.

    I guess having the fee charged in two separate instances, instead of T-mobile charging one larger fee and then reimbursing Google with part of the money, is a somewhat unusual structuring. But I'm not sure it fundamentally matters?

    • by Mekkah (1651935)
      It might make sense, but is AT&T doing this?

      No, so, if AT&T can do it, then Verizon can eat it too.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by More_Cowbell (957742) *
        As far as I can tell, the difference here is that this phone is not being sold by the carrier, but by Google. Not trying to be an apologist for Google, but I *guess* it makes sense...
        • by MBCook (132727)

          Nope. That's what the $45 restocking/refurbishing fee is. I can understand that. This is just... strange.

          Out of pocket + Google ETF + T-Mobile ETF > Unsubsidized cost

          That doesn't add up.

          • Uh, I think that depends on the nature of the contract between Google and T-Mobile. If the phone costs Google X to manufacture and they are selling it for less than X as part of a contract where T-Mobile pays them some portion of the difference, it makes some sense that Google would want to recoup that money if you cancel the contract with T-Mobile. There is no restocking fee here, you are keeping the phone, just not the contract.
            T-Mobile ETF is almost a red herring here, phone companies charge that either
            • Exactly. The plan shows that after 120 days Google has recouped it's discount from T-Mobile. It has nothing to do with the T-Mobile ETF and I doubt Google sees a cent of that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mekkah (1651935)
          Well okay, so you're saying I should be blaming Google for not taking the hit, rather than Verizon, gotcha.

          I think if that is the case though, Google made a bad move with Verizon, they should've learned from AT&T's dealings with Apple. But I think that Verizon just might be hiding behind Google on this one.. It doesn't seem right at all.
          • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

            A couple questions:

            Can you buy an unlocked phone from AT&T?

            Can you buy a Nexus One that works on Verizon's network?

            • Can you buy a Nexus One that works on Verizon's network?

              They [google.com] were still working on that one.

              That said, you can't officially get a Nexus One for AT&T either right now; but the Nexus One off contract is around $529.

    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:17PM (#30742830)

      See, that's why I went with the T-Mobile Even More Plus plan.

      No 2-year contract, and no early termination fee.

      Then again that meant I had to pay full price for my Nexus One... around $550.

      I'm still deciding whether I'm going to keep it or stick with AT&T, and I still have 1.5 weeks to decide and return it.

      Granted I'll still be about about $90-$100 if I return it. 51.99 from my T-Mobile plan (via company discount) and 40-50 for the restocking fee.

      • by yincrash (854885)
        If you went with AT&T, wouldn't the plan come out to $80/mo and you wouldn't have 3G?
        • I guess I should've been clearer in my post.

          I'm switching from AT&T to T-Mobile, assuming I enjoy my Nexus One + T-Mobile enough. Just in case I'm keeping my AT&T account this month.

          However the T-Mobile coverage by me is looking a little spottier than I'd like.

          So, if I decide to cancel the T-Mobile I don't have to pay an ETF with the "More" account. So I'll just lose the first month of T-Mobile ($51 USD) and the restocking fee on the Nexus One (about $45-50) since I payed for the unsubsidized mode

          • Are you outside AT&T's 3G network? Or does the Nexus One just not support 3G on AT&Ts network?

            I would consider the Nexus One instead of my current Nokia E71 but switching carriers just isn't an option for me. I have 5 lines on a 2 year plan with AT&T, so if I were to switch carriers I'm looking at $1k+ in ETF's right off the bat.

            • Are you outside AT&T's 3G network? Or does the Nexus One just not support 3G on AT&Ts network?

              I would consider the Nexus One instead of my current Nokia E71 but switching carriers just isn't an option for me. I have 5 lines on a 2 year plan with AT&T, so if I were to switch carriers I'm looking at $1k+ in ETF's right off the bat.

              AT&T and T-Mobile use different 3G frequencies. You can use the Nexus One on the AT&T network (w/ AT&T SIM) but you'll be stuck with Edge. I tried it to confirm.

              • Edge vs. 3G in my area doesn't seem to have a big speed impact. I live in a small town and although I have 3G coverage, it's not great and I think they've got some bandwidth problems.

                • Edge vs. 3G in my area doesn't seem to have a big speed impact. I live in a small town and although I have 3G coverage, it's not great and I think they've got some bandwidth problems.

                  When I try to toggle between Edge and 3G in my local area, the difference is decent. 1+ MB on 3G, vs 128 KB on Edge. A 10x difference.

                  I'm not a 3G hog but would like to use it, especially if I'm getting a Smart Phone like the Nexus One, Droid, iPhone, etc.

                  For me it's about a balance between price, coverage, and data coverage. Verizon scores well on the coverage but the price is a bit high.

                  • I got a smart phone for the full size keyboard, multimedia capability and that I need my email on the go. My emails are high volume but around 3-10kb each so edge is just fine.

      • I thought you said "I went with the T-Mobile Even More Pus plan".

      • by Nathanbp (599369)

        T-Mobile told me that company discounts didn't apply to Even More Plus plans. If there's some way to get them, please share.

        • T-Mobile told me that company discounts didn't apply to Even More Plus plans. If there's some way to get them, please share.

          My first bill hasn't come in yet, but the Business purchase dept over the phone said it would work. Likewise the T-Mobile shop execs where I actually took care of it said the same thing.

          Then again I won't find out until I get the bill. Even then, it's only 12% off 59.99... not exactly large change.

          Perhaps different companies have different policies? I know some companies get more than 12%

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      It could be used as an advertising trick. If someone accuses T-Mobile of having an unusually large ETF they may be tempted to say "nuh uh, it's only $200."

  • by ironicsky (569792) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:14PM (#30742796) Journal
    I'll stick with my phone... $200 early termination fee.. That's $200 for the phone, $200 termination = $400, which is still cheaper then the retail $699.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Just in case you don't read the anonymous cowards, I have some bad news. Rogers hiked their ETF sometime before the iPhone was introduced. It's now $400 + $100 if you cancel a data plan. My contract had some unclear wording about whether the data plan ETF fee actually applied to iPhones, but I suspect Rogers has a) fixed that and b) will interpret it in their favour anyway.

      But yeah, it's still worth the contract. $500 for the ETF plus they don't screw you quite as badly on the monthly fee vs. $699 for t

  • by Chris Pimlott (16212) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:23PM (#30742904)

    It's customary to explicitly define the acronym before its first use in the main body.

    • by kbob88 (951258) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:29PM (#30742972)

      It's customary to explicitly define the acronym before its first use in the main body.

      Come on, here on Slashdot, everyone knows that ETF stands for "Exchange Traded Fund". Google is giving out Nexus Ones to all investors in some fund, and charging them for it. Or is it "Electron-transferring flavoproteins"? Maybe "Emergency Task Force"?

      • No. Actually it is EPIC TOTAL FAIL! ^^

        (Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.)

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Come on, here on Slashdot, everyone knows that ETF stands for "Exchange Traded Fund".

        No we don't. Most of us here are nerds, not Ferengi. And in any case, not everyone is even going to know aht common geek acronyms, like EMF, are. It's just laziness to not define ecronyms, even when you assume everyone knows what DOS means. Speaking of that, is is Disk Operating System or Denial Of service?

        "I was running DOS 6.2 and my OS was DOSed."

    • If you wernt already rated 5 I would mod you up again. Slashdot is terrible with acronyms.

      I mean from my understanding The Boy Scouts of America seem to be in a full fight against piracy who seems to be working with some unknown lady only referred by as Ms.

      Then there was some debate about Troy Lee's Design and how someone they will mess up the internet if you can have your own.

  • False alarm (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdgeorge (18767) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:25PM (#30742924)

    As Ars poster captriker notes: the Google fee is only levied if you do not return the device to them in the subscribed time.

    Google's terms of sale for the Nexus device [google.com] state:

    You agree to pay Google an equipment subsidy recovery fee (the "Equipment Recovery Fee") equal to the difference between the full price of the Nexus handheld device without service plan and the price you paid for the Nexus handheld device if you cancel your wireless plan prior to 120 days of continuous wireless service. For example, if the full price of the Nexus handheld device without service plan was $529 USD and the price you paid for the Nexus handheld device was $179 USD with a service plan, the Equipment Recovery Fee you pay will be $350 USD in the event you cancel within the first 120 days of carrier service. The Equipment Recovery Fee is equal to the line item in your confirmation email setting forth the discount on the full priced Nexus handheld device related to your carrier service plan activiation. You authorize Google to charge the Equipment Recovery Fee directly to your credit card, or other payment method used to purchase the Nexus handheld device, upon cancellation of your wireless plan. You will not be charged the Equipment Recovery Fee if you return your Nexus handheld device to Google within the 14 day Return Policy period as set forth below.

    • As Ars poster captriker notes: the Google fee is only levied if you do not return the device to them in the subscribed time.

      Uh, yeah, you mean like it says in the summary at the top of the page?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PPalmgren (1009823)

      Might wanna read TFS again, it clearly states that this incident can occur between 14 to 120 days, which is what your quote says. Essentially, you can only return the phone for the first 14 days, and you're charged an ETF by google to make up for the subsidy cost difference if terminated between 15 and 120 days. T-Mob also charges an ETF for breach of contract.

      IMO it is a double dip, since they would be making 180+350+200 on a phone cancelled in that window, which is more than the cost of the phone, which

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        180 + 350 = 530, which just so happens to be the price of the phone! Amazing!

        T-Mobile fucking you for backing out a contract is their prerogative, and pretty typical of all carriers. Don't like? Don't sign a contract!

    • by fermion (181285)
      In any case, I think the intent of the story, which is to say that Google is double dipping is true. Anything over a $300 termination fee is excessive, especially since they are openly selling the unlocked version. There is simply no incentive for a person to buy the subsidized phone with the intention of breaking the contract. It in fact seems like a bait and switch scheme since it is so out of line with what consumers are used to, and these variances are evidently not prominently displayed on the purch
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Huh, so if Google is recouping the entire phone-with-contract discount, what exactly is T-Mobile's ETF for?

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jwinster (1620555) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:28PM (#30742956)
    Now to watch and see if the reaction by the FTC to Verizon's ETF on certain phones is the same as for Google/T-Mobile. I'm no fan of Verizon but I'm curious to see if the FTC is truly blinded by the shiny goodwill that Google has with its users.
  • You bought the phone, and inside 4 months you canceled your plan. The phone is subsidized. This seems reasonable. I mean, consider the ETF could be Verizonized (i.e. strung out for the entire term of your plan, if you cancel a month early there's a huge ETF).
  • 120 days is a long time ... I will probally buy a new one then ;-)
  • And then? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:30PM (#30742988)

    Look, don't buy it then. It's that simple. This isn't access to a new heart they are selling, it's a cell phone and a premium one at that. Act like a grown up and read the contract then make a decision. Problem solved.

    Too many "outrage" stories these days relating to luxuries and free services. Solution: Don't buy them or don't use them.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      This is something of a special case. Google's not supposed to be evil. Setting this kind of prescedent when none such exists in the industry is pretty damn evil. Watch every other phone manufacturer change their terms to the same thing.

      That having been said, I'm not getting a Nexus One, through the carrier or not. I was looking at it seriously, but now not so much.

      • Yeah, and Dominos claimed for years to make the best delivery pizza. Now they're running commercials which talk about "Alright, enough people have told us they suck, so we changed things". "Don't be evil" is a marketing slogan that everyone seems to have bought into like an Eleventh Commandment.
    • See my problem with "don't buy it" in the cell phone market is that there aren't enough alternatives. Okay so I need a cell phone to do my job, and keep in touch with my family. Exactly what do I do? Buy one of those crappy PAYGO cell phones that break in 6 months, and has no features? How do I check my email and keep my calendar with one of those? We need OSes in the market like WebOS, the iPhone and Android, but in order to take advantage of them, yes the cell phone companies aren't competing to get

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @06:30PM (#30743738)

        Okay so I need a cell phone to do my job, and keep in touch with my family. .. How do I check my email and keep my calendar with one of those?

        You don't. You do email and calendar at your desktop computer. You pick up the cheap $50-with-1-year-contract cellphone when it makes a noise indicating someone wants to talk to you.

        You don't need immediate mobile email access to keep in touch with family. Read your mailbox once per day (or every few days) when you get to your desktop. If someone has an emergency, they can fucking call you. If it's not an emergency, a delayed turnaround is fine.

        And if you are required to read email/calendars immediately for your job, then don't worry, because your employer is going to buy the phone.

        it's basically telling me to find a job and a lifestyle that doesn't require a cell phone.

        Yep, it's pretty clear you don't know the diff between a cell phone, and a ridiculously powerful (expensive) handheld personal computer. The two are merging but they're sure as hell not quite the same thing yet. One costs $50 and the other costs $500. Quit saying that you want a cellphone (a $50 device) and then bitching that the $500 overkill device costs too much. Get the $50 one and make your fucking phone calls like you said you wanted to.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Okay so I need a cell phone to do my job, and keep in touch with my family. .. How do I check my email and keep my calendar with one of those?

          You don't. You do email and calendar at your desktop computer. You pick up the cheap $50-with-1-year-contract cellphone when it makes a noise indicating someone wants to talk to you.

          You don't need immediate mobile email access to keep in touch with family. Read your mailbox once per day (or every few days) when you get to your desktop. If someone has an emergency, they can fucking call you. If it's not an emergency, a delayed turnaround is fine.

          And if you are required to read email/calendars immediately for your job, then don't worry, because your employer is going to buy the phone.

          it's basically telling me to find a job and a lifestyle that doesn't require a cell phone.

          Yep, it's pretty clear you don't know the diff between a cell phone, and a ridiculously powerful (expensive) handheld personal computer. The two are merging but they're sure as hell not quite the same thing yet. One costs $50 and the other costs $500. Quit saying that you want a cellphone (a $50 device) and then bitching that the $500 overkill device costs too much. Get the $50 one and make your fucking phone calls like you said you wanted to.

          But, but, but...

          I ! YOU ARE THE WORST PARENTS EVER!

          *cries*

      • See my problem with "don't buy it" in the cell phone market is that there aren't enough alternatives. Okay so I need a cell phone to do my job, and keep in touch with my family. Exactly what do I do?

        How did people do your job 10 years ago? If it's necessary for the job, the employer should probably ante-in on the device.

        How did you keep in touch with your family 10 years ago. If you were using a smart phone then, isn't it paid for in full by now?

      • no options?

        you can buy just about any smart phone you want unlocked and be completely free of any contract or impending ETF.

        i'll never buy a phone under contract again. i bought and unlocked N1 and my wife has an out of contract iphone. if my provider does something i don't like, i leave. problem solved.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Okay so I need a cell phone to do my job, and keep in touch with my family.

        If you need a phone to do your job, get your employer to pay for it. As for keeping in touch with your family, I never had any problems with that a decade ago when I had no cell phone.

        Exactly what do I do? Buy one of those crappy PAYGO cell phones that break in 6 months, and has no features?

        Sure, why not?

        How do I check my email and keep my calendar with one of those?

        Use a computer.

        Telling me not to buy it when there are no choices fo

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Okay so I need a cell phone to do my job, and keep in touch with my family. Exactly what do I do? Buy one of those crappy PAYGO cell phones that break in 6 months, and has no features? How do I check my email and keep my calendar with one of those?

        I use Boost Mobile and a Motorola i776 phone. The phone seems sturdy; I've dropped it quite often with no ill effects, I've had this one about six months (lost the previous one). I get local and long distance voice, email, text, internet (bad internet unfortunate

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Look, don't buy it then. It's that simple. This isn't access to a new heart they are selling, it's a cell phone and a premium one at that. Act like a grown up and read the contract then make a decision. Problem solved.

      Too many "outrage" stories these days relating to luxuries and free services. Solution: Don't buy them or don't use them.

      I couldn't agree more. I really don't understand all the "outrage" over this, when the EXACT same practice has been going on in the form of "restocking fees" for years now with other forms of electronics. I don't really see a difference, regardless of the amount vendor X is charging compared to vendor Y.

      Either you learn to live with your buyers remorse, or pay up. It's called personal responsibility. I know, that's a fairly new term going around these days...

  • Way to Dumb, guys! (Score:2, Informative)

    by copponex (13876)

    Google states that if you cancel the contract within the first four months, you have to pay them the for the rest of the phone. ($350 + $180 = $530)

    The T-Mobile fine print says:

    THE EARLY TERMINATION FEE IS: $200 IF YOU TERMINATE WITH MORE THAN 180 DAYS REMAINING ON YOUR TERM; $100 IF YOU TERMINATE WITH 91 TO 180 DAYS REMAINING ON YOUR TERM; $50 IF YOU TERMINATE WITH 31 TO 91 DAYS REMAINING ON YOUR TERM; AND THE LESSER OF $50 OR YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING CHARGES (including any applicable taxes and fees) IF YOU TERMINATE IN THE LAST 30 DAYS OF YOUR TERM. The Early Termination Fee is part of our rates and is not a penalty.

    How is Google double dipping by demanding no money if you cancel after 120 days?

    • Its not about google double dipping, its about Google and T-Mobile collectively recouping more than the cost of the phone (180 + 350 + 200 = 730). The point of the ETF is to recoup subsidies, not to rape the customer for leaving you because you suck.

      • Then the article should read, "T-Mobile Charges ETF For Nexus One on top of Google's" but instead, it reads the other way around because Google is news and a cell carrier shafting their customer is not.

        T-Mobile has decided to charge a fee for early termination of contract. I agree it's shady, but Google clearly is not making this decision for T-Mobile.

      • by Moridin42 (219670)

        Uh.. if the termination fees were ever about recovering the cost of the phone incurred by the carrier, it would be dependent on the make and model of the phone you select with your service contract. For the most part, that isn't the case. And I can therefore conclude that the fee has mostly nothing to do with recovering said cost.

  • by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:31PM (#30742992)

    It's not evil, it's just business.

  • It's not the Google ETF that's the problem, it's the T-Mobile one. You're buying the phone from Google, not T-Mobile. If you trigger Google's early termination fee, T-Mobile shouldn't be out of pocket at all, and shouldn't be charging you anything.

    • No it's actually Google's ETF that does not make sense. TMobile stands to gain if you stay with them for the duration of the contract, which is why they are subsidizing the handset and are entitled to levy an ETF if you break out earlier. Google's role ends the moment you purchase the product (except for warranty and support issues, which apparently they are keen to pass along to HTC). I don't see how they are entitled to another ETF.

      • by argent (18001)

        Google's role ends the moment you purchase the product (except for warranty and support issues, which apparently they are keen to pass along to HTC).

        If you paid Google full price for it, yes. If you paid the subsidized price, Google's role only ends when T-Mobile pays them the rest. When does that happen? That's between Google and T-Mobile, but how much you want to bet it's after 120 days?

  • Now that a US carrier finally allows it, just don't buy subsidized phones. You won't be charged any ETF and you're overall costs will be a few hundred dollars lower. Problem solved.

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      Thank you! And people wonder why I buy my phones outright. It's because I have the money up front. It just makes more sense. I don't want to buy a phone on the installment plan and sign myself into a contract that is slanted towards the carrier. People think I'm foolish because I'm paying more up front. But up front or in the behind, it's your choice.

      Also no one can say squat when I hack the life out of it. It's MINE ALL MINE MUHAHAHA

  • by InakaBoyJoe (687694) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:41PM (#30743122)

    If you buy the phone on a contract, you pay $80 a month. If you buy the phone without a contract, you still pay $80 a month.

    Why aren't people questioning this practice? Carriers justify ETFs on the basis of having to subsidize handsets, but they turn around and charge the SAME amount to customers who aren't taking advantage of the subsidy. Thus artificially suppressing the market for unlocked / open phones.

    The system in Japan makes more sense. When you buy a phone, you choose to pay the full cost up front, or pay in 12 or 24 installments (and of course if you want to cash out early, you have to pay the remainder of the balance, just like any installment plan). The communication charges are SEPARATE from the phone charges. So the end result is that the user who wants a "free phone" simply pays a bit more monthly than the user who paid for their phone up front.

    The money the carriers would save trying to explain, justify, and collect those arbitrary "early termination fees" probably justifies switching to this more sensible system. And it would encourage a free market for phones. Why aren't the regulators/attorneys/etc. stepping in where they should?

    • by RManning (544016) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:51PM (#30743260) Homepage

      If you buy the phone on a contract, you pay $80 a month. If you buy the phone without a contract, you still pay $80 a month.

      I have an unlocked Nexus One. T-mobile has two separate types of plans: one with a subsidized phone and one if you provide the phone yourself. For me, I pay about $20 less per month then if I had gone the subsidized route.

      I believe T-mobile is the only major carrier in the US that does it this way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by InakaBoyJoe (687694)

        Thanks, that's an interesting bit of info. That's a step in the right direction, but it still leaves the handset subsidy shrouded in a mysterious cloud of "plan discounts" and such. And, since all other North American carriers still collect the same amount regardless of subsidy, the user is still punished for bringing their own phone.

        Why can't we go to a simple system like this: say a phone costs $600. You either pay that up front or add $25 to your bill for 24 months and get it for "free". If you want

        • by colinnwn (677715)
          The T-mobile "Even More Plus" plans are pretty much exactly like this. As long as you have suitable credit, they will finance any phone you buy from them over 20 months (I'm pretty sure interest free), or you can pay the full amount. Though they still offer the old style plans that never decrease in price; they are called "Even More" plans.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by GweeDo (127172)

      Because with T-Mobiles Even More Plus plan that isn't the case. If you have a contract-free phone it is cheaper.

    • Carriers justify ETFs on the basis of having to subsidize handsets, but they turn around and charge the SAME amount to customers who aren't taking advantage of the subsidy

      $179 is not the same as $529.

    • If you buy the phone on a contract, you pay $80 a month. If you buy the phone without a contract, you still pay $80 a month.

      in general you are right, but for t-mo that's not the case. they have discounted month-month plans. they are the only provider that has this sort of pricing. i wish they'd get more kudos for it.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      I prefer the German model: You buy your phone in an electronics store and the contract or prepaid SIM is bought separately, not caring about your phone at all. You can also get a contract that includes you getting a new phone each N months (usually 12), if you want, and for very expensive smartphones we have the American-style telco-sells-you-the-phone bullshit (introduces with the iPhone). But in most cases nobody forces you to buy your phone from a telco.

      Much better, especially when you only need your m
    • by initialE (758110)

      Who wants a free market for phones? Only the consumers. There's a reason why your provider only sells you phones locked into their service, it's so that you are not free to migrate to another provider when you want. Over here where such practices are illegal, I'm having a hard time understanding your grief, since I've never owned a locked phone, but I can imagine it is pretty much a pain.

    • I was going to make the exact point. If they can manage to bill seperate rates for calls, texts and internet then they should easily be able to seperate an entry for "handset"
  • I wonder what's going to happen in the next decade or so, say around 2019 when Google will probably have launched the sixth or so version of the Nexus? These "smart" phones will have grown *so* damn smart that they'll have developed a survival instinct; if you cancel your contract, they'll have to send a representative of the telcos out to deal with them.

    I suspect that by then it won't be called termination.

    It will be called retirement.
  • by keepper (24317) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @05:56PM (#30743332) Homepage

    Come. The. Freak. On. !!

    Why does google get to charge this? They get the kickback FROM the carrier, so have the carrier do the ETF.

    Why does the carrier AND google, get to charge fees? Not even the iPhone, a phone that carries a higher retail value without a plan, do such a high termination fee.

    It seems google can do no wrong on slashdot. It can have the cake, the party, eat the cake, and snuff the party goers, and all is well in slashdot-google-fanboy land.

    Come on guys.

    • by symbolset (646467) *

      Come on guys.

      Actually I don't see anything devious, underhanded or untoward here. Obviously Google has to put some unpleasantness in their phone deal - if they didn't, and sold the phones for ten dollars over cost, their phone partners would have a royal snit. T-Mobile would not get their subsidized phone sales that they really need to lock in customers and probably would not want to play. At least all the phones are unlocked and the option to avoid subsidized phones is there. The mobile phone ecosystem is too sick

    • by Tweezer (83980)

      Imagine the messages if it was Microsoft doing this. And even better would be if Comcast was somehow providing the service.

    • You misspelled APPL, so I fixed that for you.

      It seems google can do no wrong on slashdot.

      Ahh, I see you're blind to the obvious google bashing that goes on here when ever Google does anything.

      What is happening here is when a customer buys a subsidised phone from google with a plan, they have to pay a fee if they terminate the plan within 4 months if the customer does not return the subsidised handset. One can surmise from this information that perhaps Google or T-mobile requires you to pay for the hard

  • When I bought my HTC Fuze for AT&T off Amazon, it only cost $100, but there was a $250 charge from Amazon if I canceled the contract within 6 months (not actually the ETF), and a $275 or whatever charge from AT&T if I canceled the contract within 2 years (the ETF). Google is giving you a bigger discount on the phone, otherwise it'd cost $350 more by default. So what? This isn't anything new, non-carrier resellers have been doing this for a long time, everyone is just complaining because it's Google

  • And that concludes the end of all my interest in this phone.

    Seriously? More ETF? What were they smoking? That goes completely against what the reason was, that anybody hoped for this phone in the first place.

  • You're not paying for a phone, you're paying for a status symbol.

    My phone cost 59.99 6 years ago. Sure, it was subsidized, but I never paid more for it. I could have brought my own phone in, had them hook it up to their service and still had the service contract and I would have been charged 59.99 less.

    My point is that you all seem to be bitching about paying for something that is SUPPOSED to be expensive. Otherwise, it wouldn't have that certain "bling" status as everyone would have one.

    It is a PHONE for f

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It is a PHONE for fucks sake. /sigh

      No, POTS is a phone, a cell phone is a computer and radio. Your cell phone is a more powerful computer than any computer that existed in 1970.

  • There's some equally-questionable terms in the sales agreement:

    You may not cancel these Terms and return a Device that has been engraved with a personal message of any sort regardless of where you reside. Devices that were not successfully delivered to you will be returned to Google and Google will issue a refund to the credit card or other payment method originally charged for the order. The amount of the refund will be the original purchase amount, minus shipping charges and any refurbishing fees associa

    • you are probably reading too much into that. if the carrier screwed up and didn't deliver the device, you'd email them and get the phone reshipped.

      it's more likely they are covering the case where you refuse shipment.

      not to mention, i live off mail order and have never had a package fail delivery. even if they can't find your house or you are not home to receive they email / phone / leave notes. i am not saying it doesn't happen, but the percent of time it does happen across all packages delivered is insign

  • All that hype, and a nice but not ground-breaking phone that is being sold with even worse terms than are the norm. I thought it was going to blow away all other phones, including the Droid and IPhone? Marginally better, perhaps. Wasn't it supposed to be "Google branded" and unlocked, so you could do as you please with it? Sounds pretty tightly tied to Mobile, and operates more or less like all the other HTC Android phones. It isn't even especially attractive. I've been a pretty big fan of some of the thing

I tell them to turn to the study of mathematics, for it is only there that they might escape the lusts of the flesh. -- Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain"

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