£169 iPhone Still £169 Too Expensive

O2 have slashed the cost of owning the Apple iPhone (8GB model only). It’s down from £269 to £169. The same deal is also available at the Carphone Warehouse. Good news I’m sure, but you’d still have to be mad to pay a penny for the damn thing on top of the £35 × 18 = £630 of a minimum contract when you can get Nokia’s N95 8GB (which I have been seriously coveting for months) for “free” at that price (then again, without any kind of data plan that’s extortionate too).

Maybe if my N73 breaks I’ll consider upgrading, but since I’m spending a tenner a month on pay-as-you-go I can’t really justify jumping to £35/month for the N95 8GB or to £44 a month for an iPhone.  Maybe if I hold out long enough…

“This generation does not want an archive of music” – Vodafone

Vodafone‘s head of internet and content services made this bold, and rather hasty, claim in promotion of MusicStation, Vodafone’s new subscription music service, which offers unlimited music downloads – downloads which all become useless the inst ant you stop making regular monthly payments to Vodafone.

“This generation does not want an archive of music. We offer unlimited music on a rental model – no-one has done this in the marketplace, and certainly not the iPhone.”
Al Russell, Vodafone’s head of internet and content services

Maybe this blogger, in his early-to-mid-twenties, is too old not part of whatever Mr Russel means by “this generation” any longer, but the last thing I want is to pay over £100 a year (£2 a week) and have nothing to show for it at the end should I decide to change networks. I’ve always avoided subscription-based download services like Napster for exactly this kind of reason (even they now offer Napster Light: a pay-per-download service). I will use it if it’s included free when I happen to take out a Vodafone contract (which I might have to if they’re the only network to get the N95 8GB which I desperately want, just not at £50 a month!), but MusicStation will not be a factor in my decision.

Perhaps Vodafone should take a look at the experience of Bango who manage, among other services, The Sun newspaper’s download service.

Trusted brands are keen not to be tarred with the subscription brush. For example, The Sun newspaper that uses Bango to power the pay per downloads on Sun Mobile, print “No subscriptions – No hidden charges” on its ads to reassure consumers it is not a subscription service. Mobile operators have also expressed a desire to move away from this type of payment as subscriptions are a major cause of consumer dissatisfaction.
Network for Online Commerce – Pay-per-download gaining popularity…

The ‘archive of music’ as Mr Russell describes it, is the modern equivalent of the CD collection. It doesn’t make a difference if you only listen to the CD once in 5 years, you keep it because you can.  It comforts the inner-hoarder in all of us. The long and short of it is, I think, that we do want it.

The push for subscription based downloads has nothing to do with what Vodafone’s (or anyone else’s) consumers want, it’s all about the interests of the big service providers and record labels, and any push towards this should be resisted. It will by this consumer anyway.