/// The 411 on Phone Discounts

May 1, 2013  |  All Things Digital

Q: You recently mentioned the HTC One as being priced at $200. I’ve just been on the phone with my carrier T-Mobile, which offers me the HTC One for $100 down and $20 a month for 24 months. They explain they “no longer offer discounted phones” under their new world order or whatever. Can you explain? A: In the U.S., carriers traditionally subsidize the price of mobile phones and then make back the money by requiring buyers to sign a two-year contract, so they don’t defect before the carrier has made back the subsidy from them. Under this formula, the HTC One is indeed $200 at AT&T. But T-Mobile recently announced a new approach under which it won’t subsidize the phones, but will charge something close to what the phone maker charges it, spread out in monthly payments. In return, it won’t require a two-year service contract. In the case of the HTC One and some other high-end smartphones, like the iPhone 5, that amounts to $100 down at purchase, plus $480 over two years — $20 a month. The actual voice and data service is in addition to the cost of the phone. Q: I have always been a Windows user, and always used security software. I just purchased a new iMac and the folks at the Apple store have told me that security software is not needed on Apple computers. What is your opinion? A: The Mac isn’t invulnerable to security problems.

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The 411 on Phone Discounts

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