Tag Archives: T-Mobile

Can you buy an iPhone for $199?

iphone1 iphone2

Apple’s iPhone 6 has been a bit hit, selling roughly 10 million units in the first few weeks after launch. But do you really think the new iPhone 6 can be bought for $199? Really?

If you have been watching the new iPhone ads, the $199 does sound encouraging – after all, Apple stated the price was “from $199.” However, that’s not quite the total price; the base price for the new product is actually $649 or more. But stating it that way doesn’t really encourage consumers to go out and buy a new phone.

In reality, upgrading an iPhone every two years using the 24-month service contract will not cost $199. The $199 is a down payment on an iPhone 6 with 16 GB of storage. The down payment rises to $299 for the 64 GB model, and $399 for the 128 GB phone.

The real price ranges from $650 – $920 (depending on carrier) for the 16 GB model, and up to $1,030 for the 128 GB model. Why? Every carrier offers the option to buy or finance by dividing the full price into installments over a two-year period, adding at least $25 to the monthly fee, and sometimes more. To find out, an educated consumer needs to read the fine print and then decide on the value based on the real cost over time.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by showing the new iPhone on apple.com. Make sure to show the price options and ask students their impression of the pricing strategy.
  2. Divide students into groups. Have each group research how much the phone would cost when buying both (1) outright, and (2) on a monthly payment plan.
  3. Do this for each of the iPhone carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.
  4. What other additional charges are there?
  5. Write the prices on the board and debrief the exercise.
  6. Pricing chart can be found at http://www.zdnet.com/how-much-does-an-iphone-6-really-cost-hint-its-way-more-than-199-7000033801/

Source: New York Times, ZDNet, Wall Street Journal, other news sources


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“It can wait” PSA Campaign



Marketers have a lot of power to influence consumers habits – not only what the consumers buy, but also what the consumers do.  Think about the various public service campaigns that are around us – littering, drinking, driving, smoking, texting, and more. Each topic has PSA campaigns that try to reach the affected audience and influence behaviors.

One of today’s important and timely topics is texting and driving. More than 75% of teens say that texting and driving is common in their group. According to the National Safety Council, more than 100,000 crashes each year are attributed to texting and driving. It’s a significant problem in today’s “always connected” world where people think they need to always be on-line, no matter what they are doing or where they are.

To combat the problem of texting while driving, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint have teamed together to produce a joint campaign called “It can wait.” The collaboration has designed a new Web site, complete with pledge, information, a texting-while-driving simulator, and 35-minute documentary film by Werner Herzog.

Watch the video. Take the pledge. Make the roads a little safer.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss public service announcement (PSA) campaigns. What makes them effective? What are some of the difficult issues developing PSA campaigns.
  2. Poll students: What are some of the issues that they have seen PSA campaigns for? What are some issues that could use better PSA campaigns?
  3. Show the “It can wait” Web site: http://www.itcanwait.com/
  4. What are the effective elements of this site? What is not effective?
  5. Have students run the “texting & driving simulator” at bottom of page.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select an issue that could benefit from a PSA.
  7. Have each team develop a PSA campaign for the topic. What are the key elements? Who is the target market? What is the key message?

Source:  Brandchannel.com, 8/12/13

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Changing Cellphone Billing


Cellphones are expensive! Not just the phone itself, which can be priced anywhere from $0 to $600 depending on the phone, but the monthly service charge is outrageous as well! Consumers sign up for a plan, usually requiring at least a two-year contract duration locking them in to the company and rate, and are stuck with the provider no matter how the industry changes. And if a consumer needs a new phone – watch out! We can pay hundreds of additional dollars, beyond the initial purchase price, over the length of the contract!

Why do consumers put up with this? Mostly because there are no other options – all the cellphone service providers use the same model – there are no alternatives. But this is finally starting to change.

T-Mobile has launched a new plan that eliminates the yearly contract; if a customer doesn’t like the service, cancel the contract without any penalty. The company also lets consumers buy any phone they like, and pay only for the phone, without interest or monthly fees that exceed the phone price. It’s about time!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start with a discussion about pricing. What are various price models that can be used for cellphone plans?
  2. Poll students about the cellphone plans they have: company, monthly price, services, phone costs, etc. Write the results on the board so that the students can clearly see the variations in service and prices.
  3. Ask students – why so many different plans for a utility service?
  4. Show the video – “60 seconds with Pogue: Cellphone billing” – http://www.nytimes.com/video/2013/04/03/technology/personaltech/100000002152558/60-seconds-with-pogue-cellphone-billing.html?smid=pl-share
  5. How will the new pricing change the cellphone industry?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team build a table that compares the pricing offered by cellphone companies.
  7. Debrief by discussing various pricing models.

Source:  New York Times, other media sources

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