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AmazonWireless: shopping the phone instead of the plan

I've said it time and time again. When it comes to buying a wireless phone, my best advice is to  shop the service, not the device.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

I've said it time and time again. When it comes to buying a wireless phone, my best advice is to  shop the service, not the device. It's common sense. The device can be the best in the world but if the service is unreliable or filled with extra charges, then what good is it?

I raise this point again because of the launch of Amazon Wireless this week. If you are one of those people who shops for the device first, then this is the site for you. Pretty much every link on the home page will take you to a place where you can shop for a phone.

Good luck finding the page with the service plan pricing details, though. From the start, there's no mention of service plans on the site. Check out this image of the home page. Not one word about service plans.

Every link - yes, even the big "Shop by Carrier" section on the right side - will take you to a page of phones that are available for purchase with the service provider you just selected. You can even filter your search results by choosing the range of the price for the phone, the color, the brand and features. (There are 77 phones for AT&T and 54 for Verizon, by the way. But no iPhone.)

You can, in fact, shop AT&T's and Verizon's service plans from Amazon Wireless but you'll be clicking around for a long time before you finally stumble upon a link that will take you to those plans. And when you get there, it's big on links and light on details - things like the costs of unlimited text messaging, details about data plans and so on.

Clearly, Amazon is in the business of selling stuff. I get that. And, if you're just in the market for a upgrade phone, then maybe this isn't such a bad thing. It's just that I come across a lot of people - smart people who know better - who find themselves lured in by the coolness of the device and then realize later that they're stuck with a plan - and a bill - that they're not happy with. It's even happened to me - that's why I bought and returned an iPhone earlier this year.

So, Amazon, maybe you could add a little something to that home page, a little corner where people can choose to "Shop the Plan First" before they become mesmerized by cool things like touch screens, qwerty keyboard and cool apps.

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