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Old October 7th, 2012, 12:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is there a future for "basic" phones?

My wife and I are in our 60's and both of us have "basic" (dumb) cell phones with T-Mobile but we both wonder if eventually we will be out of luck getting replacement "basic" phones with tmobile or anyone for that matter. I know the thing these days are smartphones but what if someone... especially the older crowd... just wants a phone that is just a phone? Will those days come to an end sooner or later?

and we notice while researching cell phones that most smartphone reviews come in with poor or mediocre call quality. I know most people today don't care about actual voice calling but most of the older crowd still does and that included most of the young folks parents and grandparents. We need good call quality and it's harder and harder to find.

I know it's said when everyone is on a smartphone and calls are all voip things will be better but for who? Older people mostly still just want a phone to be a phone and most end up on fixed incomes and cannot afford big time phone costs either for the phone itself or the plan.

so what do you all see for the future of basic phones? Will there always be someone out there providing basic phones or not? I know there are some specialty carriers such as jitterbug but compared to what we have with tmobile jitterbug comes in more costly both for the phone and the service. is that our future with little choice?

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Old October 7th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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"Dumb"phones are still half of the us market, so I don't think you're in any danger of losing that option anytime soon
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Old October 7th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the stat. I wonder though with the young dominating the industry and wanting their phones to be less and less a phone and more and more of a pocket computer how long manufacturers will be concerned about dumb phones especially since they don't pull in the money like a smartphone does. Normally in tech we see things go pretty quickly once something is decided on and while half of the phone today are dumb phones as with all technology that could change rather quickly.

Also the call quality question is still a major concern. The young don't seem to care about that but it's the most important thing to older people. I just don't have confidence that the industry will cater to us since we won't provide them with the type of money they are becoming used to with the young and smartphones. Our phones are old and need to be replaced but again with all the research we've done it's hard to find any phone with a good call quality rating these days. Some basic phones do and some high end smartphones do but not a lot in between.

We also do not like contracts and the prepaid phone offerings are not all that good but the contract phones are disappearing... at least the basic phones are. We've looked around and some phones available just a couple of months ago are already gone on the web sites of all the carriers. My brother just bought a new basic phone from Sprint... it just came on the market about six months ago. It's already gone from the Sprint site and stores. That is how fast the industry is changing these days. With MetroPCS and T-Mobile combining... I noticed some MetroPCS posts and links to stories saying they are actively phasing out their dumb phones faster than most... although they just added an updated version of the contour flip... but how long will it stay since they say what they say.

It has me looking again at our first carrier... tracfone. Maybe I'll end up having to go back there.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 01:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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For non-smart phones (dumb sounds insulting ) I believe the best options are going with pre-paid plans. Many of them you can get unlimited talk and text for around $30/month. The only contract plan I use is T-Mobile value plans, but if I didn't care about a smartphone/data I might not even do that.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Our Tmobile plan right now is pay as you go which works for us as we still have a landline here at home (again we are in our 60's) and only use the cells to carry with us when we go out.

I use "dumb" phones because that is what the media calls them. I don't like the term either.

Thanks for the input.
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Old October 7th, 2012, 07:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I keep a non smartphone (also called feature phones) as a backup. Also, since it's prepaid, it's such a cheap way to keep a backup. Smartphones are the technology of now and of the future but featurephones still are a big part of prepaid. And if the economy remains bleak, I think prepaid will be huge as more people get away from contracts.
I currently use Tmobile's $30 ppd plan for smartphones.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tube517 View Post
I keep a non smartphone (also called feature phones) as a backup. Also, since it's prepaid, it's such a cheap way to keep a backup. Smartphones are the technology of now and of the future but featurephones still are a big part of prepaid. And if the economy remains bleak, I think prepaid will be huge as more people get away from contracts.
I currently use Tmobile's $30 ppd plan for smartphones.
totally agree here. I used to think the FCC needed to step in and do something about the anti-competitive market of cell phones and service. However, I think advent of pre-paid has largely accomplished that. We're finally seeing cell phones that are competitively priced in pre-paid and off-contract avenues. As customers continue to migrate off traditional contract plans, I expect that to continue.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 12:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Unless the big companies continue to buy up all the small prepaid services
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Old October 8th, 2012, 01:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Unless the big companies continue to buy up all the small prepaid services
Thing is, the big companies already own most of the small pre-paids, and they are running on their networks. Per-paids started as a push to grab the low-end/low-income market, but the line between low-end and high-end smartphones continues to blur. That means consumer's reasoning for buying a new phone is decreasing.

The real thing I'm happy about is carriers are slowly loosing control over phone distribution. That is the real problem, the whole phone subsidization process. Consumers don't know how much they are actually paying for a phone so prices get inflated. This (IMHO) is anti-competitive and wrong. However, as manufactures gain more control and sell more phones directly to the public, we are seeing more prices truly go down. That's why I love the Value plan, the price of my service isn't tied to the price of my phone.

Anyone looking for proof of the inflated price of cell phones need only look at the tablet market. Prices for tablet should be higher than cell phones, but that isn't what we are seeing. Fortunately, things are heading in the right direction.
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