Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

Summary: Samsung's Galaxy Tab is an impressive device, but I'm reluctant to purchase one if it means I can only afford one with a subsidized, monthly recurring carrier data plan.

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TOPICS: Samsung
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Samsung's Galaxy Tab is an impressive device, but I'm reluctant to purchase one if it means I can only afford one with a subsidized, monthly recurring carrier data plan.

Yesterday, to a select group of press and analysts at a special event in New York City, Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung demonstrated the Galaxy Tab, its first entry into the slate/tablet market and what is expected to be the first true competitor to Apple's iPad.

My colleague and ZDNet Assistant Editor Andy Nusca was present at the event and has all the nuts and bolts and speeds and feeds breakdown in his excellent post-mortem. From what I can surmise from his report and other coverage I've seen, I really want to own one of these new 7" devices.

Yes, I know, I already own an iPad, and I've professed my love for the device on this blog several times. But the idea of having a smaller, more portable 7" tablet device which has full Adobe Flash capability is compelling, and being something of a gadget-freak, I'd like to own one of each type of tablet platform so I can stay abreast of the technology.

I really like the fact that Samsung has committed to launching the device on all the major US wireless carriers, and that they are also going to release a non-3G, basic Wi-Fi version. However, there was one thing that Samsung completely avoided discussing in their press conference yesterday, and that was PRICE.

As my colleague Andrew pointed out, when companies are cagey in discussing price, that usually means the product is going to be more expensive than what consumers are going to like -- or that they haven't finished their negotiations with the carriers yet.

So, what should a basic, Wi-Fi only 7" Android tablet cost? Well, based on iPad economics, it should definitely cost somewhat LESS than $500.00. Yes, the Galaxy Tab has two cameras, memory expansion and all that, which the iPad doesn't, but if the company expects to go up against the market leader with a smaller screen and a higher price, then the Samsung executives need to check if there isn't anything "extra" added to their after-work Soju and do a bit of Seoul searching.

That higher price for a basic Wireless-N unit of course can be mitigated by carrier subsidy by purchasing a 3G-capable model, just in the same way that it is done with smartphones today. In my case, I paid Verizon Wireless $200.00 for each of my Droids (which would normally go for about $500.00 apiece unsubsidized) with a two year commitment with accompanying data plans that cost about $60.00 per month on each device, plus my family voice plan of 700 shared minutes that I pool with my wife.

Many families have similar such plans and have multiple smartphone devices, each with a data plan on it. I don't know about you, but if the price of the Galaxy Tab can only be made affordable by a carrier subsidy, which requires me to enter yet ANOTHER cellular data contract with a recurring monthly fee, then forget about it. I'll keep using my iPad.

Just between my wife and I with our two smartphones, I pay about $160.00 in total monthly recurring fees, and that's with a generous corporate discount. Your average family of three or four pays upwards of $200-$250 a month. Throw another data plan on top that for the Galaxy Tab? That will increase your monthly bill another $50.00-$100.00, depending on what terms the carriers decide to impose on these very data thirsty devices.

The Galaxy Tab is going to be a supplementary data device for many consumers and professionals. Unlike the Dell Streak, the North American version is not capable of acting as a phone, so that limits its capabilities and its market right out of the bat. Nobody is going to use one in lieu of a smartphone because it can't make calls, period.

Either Samsung figures out how to make the basic, non-3G unit affordable, or the carriers and Samsung need to figure out how to reward loyal customers which already pay for multiple smartphone devices that wish to add a tablet that piggybacks on top of existing data plans for a marginal supplemental fee with provisions for dealing with significant overages. That, or introduce pay-as-you go, contract-free pricing as AT&T does with the 3G iPad while keeping basic device costs down.

I'm sorry, but I don't need another stinking data plan. I already pay for two. Figure out a better way to make your tablet cost less money for the average consumer, or Apple eats your Bulgogi for lunch.

Would you buy a Galaxy Tab if it meant you had to incur yet another 2-year 3G contract? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topic: Samsung

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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50 comments
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  • RE: Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

    I absolutely agree. Why would anyone want to be saddled with a data plan on a new device, when they probably would not use that device as much.
    THis should go for all carriers and manufacturers. Make your products affordable and find more efficient ways to milk consumers of their hard earned money. This two year contract crap has gone on for long enough.
    prowlermax@...
  • Imagine if your ISP worked this way?

    Imagine if every IP-capable device in your home had to have a "balkanized" data plan in order to use it? By that, I mean if you had to choose a separate data plan for each device, rather than paying for Internet service for your HOUSEHOLD. "Gee, Dad, I think the 200 MB data plan on the TV for $24.99 should be plenty, but you might want to re-think going with the 100 MB data plan for little Betty as much as she's on YouTube. I'd go with the 200 MB plan for her." Crazy, right?

    So why shouldn't we be able to buy a "pool" of wireless data that can be shared among a household's mobile devices?

    Now, I'll grant you that it still costs something to support multiple devices in multiple locations, but I don't think we should have to buy a separate plan for each device. Of course, the hardware subsidies would probably need to end to make this work.
    bmgoodman
    • Do any other dinosaurs out there remember...

      @bmgoodman ...when cable TV first came out back in the 70's that's what the cable companies tried to do. Have 2 TVs and the cable company wanted to charge you for a monthly fee for a second drop. I'm not talking about a second set top box. I'm talking about sticking a $1.99 radio shack coax splitter in the line and charging you for a monthly fee for 2 TV's. Guess history repeats itself whether you learn from it or not.
      Scubajrr
      • I hate to...

        @Scubajrr

        admit it, but yes, I do remember, and it somehow does not seem all that long ago.
        Economister
      • O

        @Scubajrr
        olePigeon
      • I'd gladly pay the $1.99 fee...

        @Scubajrr I'd gladly pay the $1.99 fee if it meant that cable was commercial free again.

        The whole point of paying for cable was [i]because[/i] it was commercial free. Now you pay twice as much for it, and 50% of it is commercials.
        olePigeon
    • Well, you can buy per person for Android devices that create a hot spot.

      Then, the rest of your devices just need wi-fi, no data plan.
      DonnieBoy
      • Good suggestion .... but ...

        @DonnieBoy That was a good suggestion.

        The only problem is now you need that "hot spot" person with you at all time to enjoy the benefits.
        wackoae
      • Works for about 1.5 hours. Then no battery:-( -nt-

        @DonnieBoy
        Bruizer
  • Well, I have probably flogged this one to death, but...

    you are basically starting to see the reality of the so called subsidized smart phones. (If the average family pays close to 3 grand per year ($250/month) and they get excited about a $100 drop in the up front cost of the smart phone, they must have a screw lose.)

    In any event, what the carriers are doing is pretty obvious: They have the shiny new toy that you want and they will try to get you hooked into as many wireless communication plans and as much use as possible. Hey, if they get away with it, one day you will no longer need your wired connection and all your communications payments go to these carriers, and maybe even your entertainment, such as the TV. At that point they got complete control over you and will charge you as they see fit. Your equipment will not work on any other carrier's network, and besides, you have long term contracts that they suckered you into signing.

    The question is: What are you going to do about it? Do you play along or do you resist. Your choice.
    Economister
    • In other words, you just get one Android data plan per person, all the

      other devices, wi-fi only. Use the ability of Android to create a wi-fi hotspot.
      DonnieBoy
      • That would go a long way, but

        @DonnieBoy

        I would also prefer to have that phone work ANYWHERE, if I just have the right SIM and data plan for the carrier in that area/country. I do not mind having a plan be limited at a lower cost. At home you may need "unlimited". If you travel, prepaid may be all you need. You just want to be able to make a call or connect once in a while. Public hot spots also have a role to play, but I bet the carriers hate those. The may cut into their revenue.
        Economister
      • So you have an additional $20/month dataplan.

        @DonnieBoy

        Still have to buy the Tab on contract that you are not using? Why?
        Bruizer
    • Who says?

      Who says we want it? This is whats wrong, they assume we will want it but in fact it is they who want us to buy it. Do we need it? Will we use it? Will it enhance our lives? The answere to all of these is 'probably not'.<br><br>Can we live without it? Most likely! So why do we keep paying? We have to turn our backs on all this crap until the greedy corporations stop trying to rip us off. We have to look at prices today and walk away from companies who so obviously cheat us with their products.
      bill.andersen@...
    • RE: Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

      Another thing is products with their name all over it. I only want to see the manufacturer's name (if any) on a product I buy, and even then it should be on the back and not in my face every time I look at it, and NOT the carrier's logo too or extra software that shows carrier logo when you start it up which means the machine takes longer to start.
      Me? I wont even pay for a carrier bag that has a logo on it, if they want me to carry their advertising then they can pay ME. Think about how many ways they use us to get free advertising. If we all stop buying products with logos (name brands) on them they would have to reduce their prices to the same as other products from lesser known manufacturers whose quality is often the same or better.
      bill.andersen@...
  • I have a phone; a "pad" shouldn't be a phone, too

    I have a perfectly good little wireless phone that fits in my smallest pockets. I see no need for a "phone" that has a zillion feature but is clumsy to carry. So how about a pad-thingie that can communicate with my phone and use said phone to make connections? That way, if I'm going someplace where I might need a phone but probably won't need a pad-thingie -- think grocery store run -- I'll only bring the phone. So I'll want until we have ~$100 pads with bluetooth connections. Thank you.
    robin@...
    • Of course you can have that, but..

      @robin@...

      it will cost you an extra $XX per month to the carrier. It probably does not matter how little you may use your phone, but you want an extra feature, pay up. That is precisely one of the reasons the carriers like to control the HW/SW. It makes them more money.
      Economister
  • RE: Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

    I Don't understand why samsung for united states removed the phone capabilites for this device while the European market has it. I currently have an iPhone and I am out of contract. I thought of taking a galaxy tab and when needed using it change the sim card. Disappointing! I would rather go for an ARCHOS 70 which looks decent if not as great as this but will be enough for my needs ... in case i need internet can theter using my phone ...
    srikanthreddys
  • RE: Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

    The only places that I would use this type of device already have wi-fi - I don't need (or want) 3G or a data plan.
    KNPepper
  • RE: Samsung: I don't need another data plan on my Tab

    I agree with your statements. I always wondered who these people were that could afford the data plan for their home internet, their smart phones, and now their tablets. Just seems like a bit of a waste of money. I have just a cell phone and home internet. I refuse to pay for the data plans on netbooks or tables because that is just another bill.
    Loverock Davidson