Friday, September 21, 2007

Wi-Fi phones don't have to be expensive

This week brought the announcement of the latest product from Nokia, the 6301, UMA-enabled dual-mode device. This is an update to the extremely popular 6300.

In the press release from Nokia, the 6301 has a suggested price of €230 before rebates/subsidies. Given the current exchange rate, a price of €230 gave me pause... ‘Uh oh, another expensive UMA device...”

That got me thinking, what is the premium to the 6301 (clearly it must be more expensive because it has Wi-Fi!) compared with the ‘classic’ 6300?

The internet is a wonderful place, and after a short search, I found an article which covered the launch of the 6300. Surprisingly enough, the suggested price of the 6300 at launch was €250. Hummm... Now I’m impressed.

Certainly time and volumes have helped to lower prices, but I must say I was quite surprised to find the original, non-Wi-Fi version was originally priced €20 higher than the new, UMA-enabled version.

Even more surprising was a quick check of the web site, which has the 6300 currently priced at €229 as part of a web special. Now I’m very impressed.

I’m not sure when the market will stop saying “Wi-Fi = expensive”. Of course, the iPhone doesn’t help, nor the fact that nearly every other Wi-Fi enabled device is at the high end of the spectrum. Perhaps we need a new campaign, if “Wi-Fi = expensive”, then “UMA = value”. UMA-enabled phones are not dramatically more expensive than any other device.

For those who click through on the article about the 6300, you’ll notice it was the same time Nokia introduced the 6086, it’s second UMA-enabled product. There is some irony.

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