Sunday, July 3

Operator exclusivity is hostile to consumers and must go | Digital Trends Spanish


As a gamer myself, I understand how frustrating it can be when certain games are made exclusively for a console or PC system. Console exclusivity for games has waned in the last decade to the point where game companies have implemented cross-platform and cross-play features so that people play together regardless of which console or PC platform they play on. . Mobile exclusivity, on the other hand, is still alive and well and killing some potentially big smartphones in its wake.

OnePlus announced last Tuesday that its latest model in its 5G phone lineup, the Nord N20 5G, is coming to T Mobile on April 28. Not Verizon, not AT&T, just T-Mobile. As the successor to the Nord N10 and Nord N100 lineup from 2020, you’d think the Nord N20 would learn from the mistakes of its ancestors and be available to everyone regardless of what mobile carrier they’re with, right? Unfortunately not. Instead, OnePlus decided it wants to sell it exclusively on T-Mobile, one of the most unpopular mobile carriers in the country, with its tendency to block coverage in certain areas and limit online connectivity after people use a certain amount of data per month.

iPhones and Samsung smartphones are thriving because they are sold in more of 90% of the main mobile operators, including AT&T (for which the iPhone was once exclusive), Verizon and T-Mobile. Carriers are important for other phone brands to break into sales in the United States, but they mostly sell iPhones and Samsung phones because of their popularity. OnePlus making the Nord N20 5G a T-Mobile exclusive demonstrates the hostility of mobile exclusivity and how much it needs to die to save people money, especially in today’s market.

iPhone vs. Android (or AT&T vs. Verizon)

The iPhone became the most coveted phone upon its release in the summer of 2007, with its revolutionary touch screen that combines the normal cell phone, iPod Touch and computer to become a convenient mobile device, giving people the power to send emails and surf the web on the go. What made the iPhone even more coveted was the fact that, even though it cost $499 (for the 4GB model) or $599 (for the 8GB model), it was only available through AT&T with a two-year contract. It might have been cheaper than the current models, but it was still too expensive for some people to buy on their own, let alone with a contract that had them replace it with a newer model once the term was up. Still, the iPhone was popular enough to justify its exclusivity to AT&T so everyone and their teens who wanted the iPhone had no choice but to ditch whatever phone they had from whatever carrier they got it from at the time and switch to AT&T. .

Two years later, Motorola released the Droid, the first Android smartphone on the market, exclusively through Verizon to amplify the competition. The Droid also had a touch screen, but unlike the iPhone, the screen slid up to reveal the keyboard just like the SideKick (another T-Mobile exclusive device). Motorola taking a page out of Apple’s playbook on mobile exclusivity triggered a culture war between the two carriers. In other words, people were forced to choose between the iPhone or the Droid, and by extension AT&T or Verizon, whichever was more affordable for them.

In 2011, AT&T lost the iPhone exclusivity agreement despite selling 4.1 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2010. The first carrier Apple extended iPhone availability to was, ironically, Verizon. By the end of the year, the device arrived at Sprint, with T-Mobile the last to get it before 2013. The carrier’s expansion was due in large part to four US senators, including John Kerry and Amy Klobuchar, asking the FCC in the summer of 2009 that review mobile exclusivity agreements between service providers and phone manufacturers and determine whether or not such agreements are fair. By extending the availability of the iPhone to subscribers of other carriers, it became the king of the smartphone market.

OnePlus should learn from the example of Apple and Android

It’s one thing for smartphones to be prohibitively expensive for some people, as is the case with most iPhones these days, but it’s another thing to make them available from a single mobile service provider, even to those who can afford it. Politics may have played a role in Apple expanding its iPhone availability to Sprint (now defunct), T-Mobile, and Verizon on a gradual scale, but OnePlus remains part of the practice of mobile exclusivity.

Unlike the iPhone in its early days, the Nord N20 5G isn’t a reason to switch to T-Mobile.

OnePlus needs to learn from the examples of Apple and Android and make the Nord N20 5G available to everyone who uses other mobile carriers, not just T-Mobile. It may come with some features that the iPhone doesn’t, but at the end of the day, it’s a mid-range smartphone that won’t do much more than compete with Motorola and Samsung, its other mid-range peers. That said, unlike the iPhone in its early days, the Nord N20 5G isn’t a reason to switch to T-Mobile. That exclusivity will only hurt consumers and the device itself in the long run.

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