December 5, 2009

inSingapore: In the mobile phone world, smaller is better, but… the fine print is ridiculous!

Posted in Musings tagged , , , at 7:55 am by myrlinn

This morning found me reading mobile phone ads again, this time because I know that a friend of mine lost her phone, and needs one. And the fine print got me all frustrated again. The mobile ads from the various providers in Singapore are nice and huge, often spreading over two pages, but the way the prices are presented is absolutely ridiculous. They show low, low prices, but some of the prices are based on sign-ups “with data plan”, and some are contingent on signing up for higher-priced plans.

If you don’t want a data plan, or if you just want to sign up for a basic plan, you have to squint at the fine print at the bottom to find out how much you have to add on to the advertised price. Very annoying!

It would definitely be more useful for consumers if they were to show the price for the phone you sign up for the most basic plan, and provide a table for how much you have top up if you’d like to choose other plans. And that, if I remember correctly, is what they used to do, which makes me conclude that the objective here is to upsell, that is, steer people towards signing up for high-priced plans and/or other value-adds. Entice them with a seemingly low price for a coveted model, and to get the phone at that price, why, all they have to do is sign up for the high-priced plan, whether the plan suits their needs or not.

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