Poll results: Would you buy a flagship full-price, without carrier subsidies?

Poll results: Would you buy a flagship full-price, without carrier subsidies?
The carrier you subscribe to often subsidizes the price for an outright purchase of a great handset, recuperating the cost afterwards by shackling you with a lengthy contract. Apple and Samsung, for instance, are notorious with their profit margins, and a big part of it comes from the fact that the latest and greatest iPhone or S5 can be had for just $199 on any major carrier in the US, while it will cost you north of $600 to buy them SIM-free. The same goes for most other flagships, which launch for a price anywhere in the $600-$700 range, if you buy outright to use with your existing SIM card, but two thirds of that price are immediately swollen by the carrier if you extend your contract, or sign up for a new one. 

These days, however, the competition among mobile phone makers is fiercer than it's ever been - apart from great midrangers that now come with high-res screens, long-lasting batteries, and very good cameras, we also have the rising Chinese stars, which can sell you a great-looking device with 1080p screen and 13 MP camera for half of what a brand-name flagship costs.

That is why we asked you whether you would consider buying a flagship without any carrier subsidies, or are you this addicted to the two Benjamins or so price tag which they carry, that you can't even imagine shelling for a phone as much as a laptop or a TV cost. Well, long story short, the answer is a resounding "yes" - more than three quarters of our 2150 respondents like having the latest and greatest, and don't mind shelling out full price for it. Given that most smartphone sales are still done via the carriers, both in the US and globally, we'd wager to guess the share of the respondents that said "no" would be much higher if we had asked "Have you ever bought a flagship full price?" Naturally, it also depends on the flagship, as some offer unique features and keep their value longer than others, making them a no-brainer, even at a $600+ tag.

Would you buy a flagship full price, without carrier subsidies?

Yes
76.14%
No
23.86%

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24 Comments

1. naittosan

Posts: 239; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Must be a lot of rich people out there.

3. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Carrier subsidies are masked and have expensive plans. You end up spending the same anyway.

17. Gdrye

Posts: 111; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

you end up paying more to be honest

23. hurrycanger

Posts: 1760; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Yep, totally agree. You end up paying more if you buy a phone with a 2-year contract. Last time I checked, with AT&T, you would pay about $135-$235 more if you take that contract. Paying the phone off ends up saving you some money (after a 2-year period, of course).

4. skyline88

Posts: 697; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

yup, 23.86% of them.

5. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

If you buy a flagship unlocked and without carrier subsidies, it's more worth it than buying it on contract with carrier subsidies. Buying a flagship on contract from carriers will include the bloats from the carriers themselves, and you will also get Android or software updates slower than the world. Buying a phone on contract from carriers may be cheap, but actually the monthly commitment is higher, typical business tactics from carriers. Just imagine that you bought a flagship from a carrier two years on contract with a price of $199 and the original price of the flagship is $699, after two years of paying for the monthly commitment is already enough to pay for the original price of the flagship. Is buying flagships on contract really that worth it? I don't think so. I don't know about you Americanos think, but as a person from Asia, I think it's not worth it. Countries are different from each other though.

8. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

frankly speaking in countries other than the US, like in asia buying the phone itself is really quite common cause the deal with carriers are just plain ripoffs

16. Donotnameme

Posts: 47; Member since: Jul 01, 2014

ripoffs... like what happens in western countries?

12. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

Technically you will be paying more overall if you get a free $600 phone on a Verizon 2 year contract vs. buying a $600 phone upfront for use on T-Mobile.

24. JC557

Posts: 1919; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Nope, just save up and buy a new phone when needed. Maybe an insurance plan as well. It's not like people are buying phones every month or every 3 months even. Even if they are they either have the old phone as a backup or they resell it to help recoup the cost of the new one. I have quite a few phones is because of craigslist and buying used elsewhere. So I buy one new and every so often I find a good deal on CL and buy a backup phone.

2. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

In my country it's just not worth it to get tied to a carrier. So, it's save, save, save and then go buy outright. It doesn't mean that we're rich, just got no other option. EMI's are just a waste of time anyways.

6. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Carrier subsidies or carrier loans? lol Nope. No smartphone is worth $700-$800 unlocked. I had my LG G2 for $350 I had my Mi3w for $240

7. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

Oooh how long after release did you buy your phone?

13. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

I can't thumbs up enough LOL

9. uchihakurtz

Posts: 427; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

I'm actually interested on Carrier Subsidies thing. I saw it during my visit to Australia and it doesn't seem bad. I mean, 200 bucks outright for an S5 + around 100 bucks a month but you can get more 100 bucks worth of call, sms, and data. What's the disadvantages other than carriers bloats and carrier locked device?

10. SamDroid unregistered

You can't root and mod, which completely defeats the purpose of buying an Android phone. You get limited to one carrier and it gets too hard for you to change phones.

11. Cicero

Posts: 1117; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

But if you pay $600 unlocked + 24 months × $50 = $1200 will be $1800 and compare with $200 upfront + 24 months × $100 = $2400 will be $2600. And on top of that you are free to move around carriers and have 12 months contract, bloat free, faster updates, unlocked phone to be sold etc. BETER WITHOUT CARRIERS SUBSIDIES.

18. Gdrye

Posts: 111; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

very well said...look you are not buying a phone out right for $200, i HATE when people tell me that, you are putting a down payment on the phone for $200 and are paying off the rest of the device later on

14. ilayron8

Posts: 22; Member since: Apr 15, 2014

Buying from a private store is the only option in my country. The carrier's prices are too high.

15. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Exactly. In my country, buying from carriers is neither more nor less expensive than buying sim free overall, special offers not considered. Carriers can only lock you in for 6 months, so there is no business in subsidizing heavily. I like the arrangement, and most of my countrymen will have little to no problem laying down 4.000,- Dkr/550,- €/750,- $ for a flagship phone if that's what they want or need..

19. kassi

Posts: 109; Member since: May 25, 2013

to buy a phone from a carrier only proftis you if you are a real heavy user in terms of calls and lte usage

20. foreverjin08

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

When I was in China, I can choose whatever carrier and use whatever phone I like any time. Well, the system in the US is like a primitive society. I couldn't change my stupid iphone 4s within 2 years, meanwhile, I have to pay extremely expensive, I mean extremely expensive data plan to the stupid att compared to the price in China and the price as I know in the UK. I would say the family plan is the most stupid thing in the world. I don't understand why people would like to give up their freedom to a carrier. Right now I have bought two smartphones at full prices within the last year, and I switched two carriers. I am pretty happy with 3G or 2.5G. I never want the stupid 4G to come to my life no matter in the US or in China. The stupid 4G is the biggest gimmick all over the world. I am pretty happy to say farewell to att, verion, and sprint.

21. foreverjin08

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

cannot edit grammar errors.

22. RohanM

Posts: 141; Member since: Jan 15, 2013

I bought Sprint G2 but unlocked GSM.. hehe

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