03
Nov
unbranded android phone

It's not much of a secret that Android's success is in no small part due to the broad range of devices which are currently available on the market. There is a phone for everyone available if you look hard enough, from top-of-the-range choices such as the Samsung Galaxy S II all the way down to cheap, unbranded phones from China.

For those on a budget this choice can only be a good thing, but for carriers, it turns out that the cheaper devices may actually do more harm than good.

As Android is open source software, there are no hardware specifications that manufacturers have to meet before they can sell their phones with Google's operating system. Although this results in a greater diversity between devices, it also means that there is more scope for hardware failure.

A report from Reuters has revealed that the repair costs from these cheaper models could send the total repair costs of global telecoms operators up to a staggering $2 billion. This data comes from a study conducted by WDS, a wireless services firm. Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS said

While this price point sounds very attractive, when you look at a total cost of ownership its a different story... at the moment, Android is a bit of the Wild West.

He went on to say that on average, a device costs a mobile operator £80 in service costs, transport fees or in the costs of replacing the device.

With these recent findings, operators may begin to question the viability of offering such a wide range of cheaper devices, and they could instead choose to focus on the high-end market more depending on their customer demographics.

Source: Reuters

John Thompson
John's been addicted to technology ever since he tinkered with his first custom built PC when he was 10 years old. He's also the proud owner of seven Amazon Kindles, but only because he destroyed the first six.

  • Jonathan

    I really hope manufacturers realize this and stop releasing "cheapy" Android phones that give Android a bad name.
    The model in which previously "high-end" older phones become the cheaper alternative would be my suggestion as to being the only model, allowing to reach all demographics as well keeping customer satisfaction high.

  • Erik Neu

    Especially if the users of those cheaper devices are on low-end data plans...T-Mobile offers a $10/month data plan, but it qualifies users for subsidized contract phone just as much as the $30 "full" data plan. A good deal, for those of us with families.

  • D.L. Wall

    How is this any different than the repair costs for the cheap feature phones that carriers have been selling for the last 2 decades?

    • GraveUypo

      this was the first thing that came to my mind. is it bad the cheap phones are android? because if they aren't, they will still be cheap and break.

  • Marc

    I was under the impressions that the manufacturers shouldered the costs of warranty repairs, not the resellers. Also, once your device is past the warranty date, then the customer is responsible for the repair costs. Am I missing something here?

  • spike

    Well 500 000 smartphone by day (more today, but let's say it accounts for tablets) and only for "activated" => * 365 => 182 billions "activated" ... => 1cent by smartphone sold ...

    • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

      You mean millions, not billions, surely.

  • http://schpydurx.livejournal.com ProfessorTom

    If only there were some company out there that was extremely profitable that only sold high-end phones for the rest of the industry to aspire to.

    Oh wait, what's this?

    • GraveUypo

      more to the point, what are you really doing here?

  • Badbrett

    Here's a news flash. The "top-of-the-line" Android phones are just as prone to issues as the "cheap" ones. I have one. See for yourself by browsing the forums.

    I've never owned an iphone, but maybe the concept of devoting your resources to the design and implementation of ONE phone makes more sense and results in less repairs than dozens of phones spit out by multiple companies. But, Android "choice" is SO important..........

  • bnorm

    "I've never owned an iphone, but maybe the concept of devoting your resources to the design and implementation of ONE phone makes more sense and results in less repairs than dozens of phones spit out by multiple companies. But, Android "choice" is SO important.........."

    Hmmm, I didn't realize that Android was a manufacturer of phones, like Apple.

  • bnorm

    "I've never owned an iphone, but maybe the concept of devoting your resources to the design and implementation of ONE phone makes more sense and results in less repairs than dozens of phones spit out by multiple companies. But, Android "choice" is SO important.........."

    Hmmm, I didn't realize that Android was a manufacturer of phones, like Apple.

  • http://www.mibapps.com/ Avi

    It's silly to say that iPhones don't break. They do. No electronic device is immune from defects. These numbers mean nothing alone for at least two reasons. One, how does that $2 billion compare with their usual repair costs? And two, are they making more money as a result of selling more devices? My guess is a little of both which actually means that these devices are costing manufacturers less to repair than previous devices. Finally, that number is global which is basically saying that it'll cost manufacturers about $0.50 per customer annual to repair devices considering at last check their 4 billion devices in the hands of consumers worldwide. This article is basically irrelevant as a result.