You sign two years of your life away in the form of a service contract for your favorite smart phone as easily as you trade your Mercedes for a valet ticket before dinner.
Not much thought involved. A deal’s a deal. Especially if it’s a familiar one.
The practice predates smartphones, as I can attest from my purchase of a Nokia soap bar model, purchased back around the turn of the century, and locking me in to a two-year service commitment before Ikea was cool.
I cared then. At times I still do.
No doubt the brainchild of some telecoms marketing genius, from the consumer’s standpoint the two-year commitment is cloyingly restrictive. But from that of the service provider, it creates a stable, predictable revenue stream, reliable customers (at least for a time), and built in loyalty in the form of device upgrades offered near the end of your subscription term. Talk about laying the foundation.
Well, we the consumer have grown accustomed to the service commitment practice with our phones. But as our devices blend further and we descend the mobile rabbit hole, innovation transcends the physical artifact, and broadband service wends its way into our payment and billing structures for our other devices.
Case in point: Michael Dell has jumped in bed with our gray-suited friends at the nation’s largest wireless carrier, Verizon, and they’re making a mobile baby. Holy business development month for Verizon. Dell now offers a host of laptops available complete with a healthy rebate when one commits to a two-year Verizon Wireless service contract.
Not a bad racket, eh?
The deal is almost a no brainer, especially if you’re in it for a Dell. Given the recent proliferation of tablets, one has to think that they have something smaller than a laptop up their sleeve. And as business folk (or more importantly, their tech and purchasing departments) adopt tablets, Dell and Verizon, as the standard bearers of business IT needs, seem to be meeting the market.
All of these devices – from phone to tablet to laptop – when outside of the office, rely on some measure of G-connectivity and /or wifi. And as we get away from our desks other similarities to smart phones are creating deeper ties to our mobile carriers, business or pleasure.
Our technology evolves. Our calling plans will too.