Are Apple Users Hurting Wireless Carrier Partners?

Felix Salmon reports that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) users are diminishing the intended Apple experience by trying to circumnavigate pricey wireless carrier fees. The article says that while Apple products used to be considered a luxury good and were primarily enjoyed by a more affluent segment of society, the devices are now becoming more main stream, lending them to be used by more thrifty consumers who are using the devices in ways which they weren’t originally intended in order to avoid being nickel and dimed by their wireless carriers.

Salmon writes, “[Apple] tries to control the experience as best it can — but people still end up being faced with ludicrous charges like $30 a month for text messaging. And then, on the perfectly reasonable grounds that $360 plus tax per year is a ridiculous sum of money to spend on a minuscule amount of data, they decide that they’re going to try to get around those charges.”

While the author asserts that these creative detours are actually profit cutters for cellular companies — AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S), and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) — more so than for Apple, “they’re still bad for Apple, because they defeat the elegant perfection which Apple puts so much effort into getting exactly right. And what’s more, these techniques are most attractive to people who are tempted by Apple products but can only just afford them, or can’t quite afford them. As it seeks to increase its market share, Apple has to sell its products to more and more of these people, who will often be buying an Apple product for the first time. And the last thing that Apple wants is for its carefully-crafted user experience to be sullied by something as banal as an attempt to avoid text-messaging charges.”

Salmon concludes his article by saying this problem is only going to continue to get worse for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). As technology advances, wireless carriers will find ways to charge for the network services necessary to use the devices. Salmon says consumers should be prepared for the monthly charges that they will see each month on top of the upfront price of the hardware.

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