Exclusive Mobile Phones

By: Gary Parsons

Perhaps one of the most famous examples of exclusive contracts is that of the Apple iPhone. Having signed a deal with AT&T in America; Apple are making their way to Europe - with many industry experts predicting that they will split their EU contract across several of the major networks, with only one operator per EU country. Now with Apple's shear power, thanks to the hype surrounding the release of their first mobile phone, they are able to demand heavy terms when signing new contracts which will include a share of revenue made from both calls, data usage and perhaps content purchased (although this hasn't yet been confirmed).

The networks themselves also do however have a lot of power; with their businesses spanning the globe they are able to put their pitch of high EU wide status to the growing number of mobile phone manufacturers who approach them. One way or another you'll see that networks such as O2 (owned by Spain's Telefonica), T-Mobile (owned by the German Deutsche Telecom) and Orange (owned by France Telecom) all have big influential parents in other countries.

Running way ahead of the others, Orange seems to be the biggest player when it comes to signing exclusive contracts with manufacturers of mobile phones; particularly Sony Ericsson. With what appears to be tactics rather than market dominance, Orange has signed a deal with Sony Ericsson to be the supplier of some of their walkman phones as owners of these phones have been proved to consume 50% more music downloads than the average phone user - therefore generating more revenue for the network.

So is it just about what type of users own which type of phones? Well the biggest trend in signing exclusive contracts is not just about the handset itself but the colour available. One recent deal is to supply the popular LG Shine in Pink, bringing a target audience to their network.

Whilst this surely must be a great thing for mobile networks, it doesn't necessarily guarantee us the best mobile phone deals as the handsets alone may entice users to the network supplier. One way around this is to wait for the exclusive contracts to end, which is dependant on the network and can be anything from three to eighteen months.

Cell Phones
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