Total Cost of Ownership: Android phone repairs cost carriers billions

“Fitting older versions of Google’s Inc popular Android software to cheaper cellphones could send the repair costs of global telecoms operators up as much as $2 billion, a study by wireless services firm WDS showed,” Reuters reports.

“Costly hardware failures are more common on Android devices than on Apple Inc iPhones and Research In Motion Inc BlackBerry phones, which have strict control over the components used in their devices, WDS data showed,” Reuters reports. “The study covered 600,000 technical support calls taken by WDS across Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia.”

“Cheaper Android models, costing as little as $100 to make, have helped Android emerge as the dominant platform in smartphones, attracting dozens of manufacturers ranging from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to no-brand Asian vendors,” Reuters reports. “‘While this price point sounds very attractive, when you look at a total cost of ownership its a different story,’ said Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS, which offers device management and call centre services to operators.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

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  1. Don’t carriers just foist the costs of out-of-warranty work onto the customer? And if it’s in-warranty, the manufacturer would bear the cost.

    How do hardware failures cost the carrier anything, other than the cost of the support call itself?

  2. I’m not sure if this is consistent across all carriers and phone makers, but my experience with several Sony Ericsson devices on AT&T was that, whenever I had a hardware problem of any kind (and I had them on several devices), Sony-Ericsson would tell me to call AT&T. In my case, AT&T has physical presence, in the form of a service and repair shop (on 42nd street in NYC, across from the main public library). I’d go in there, take a number and sit there, watching people with Blackberries complaining about the defective trackball. When the problem is simple (bad battery), they’ll give me a new one on the spot. If it is more serious (unresponsive keypad button), they’d take the phone in and I’d have to come back. All this was within the regular warranty period.

    In other words, as far as my Sony-Ericsson devices were concerned, AT&T was the one responsible for all warranty repairs. I have no reason to believe that is not the case with other handset makers on American mobile carriers.

    Of course, we all know this is NOT the case with the iPhone, where carriers are just dumb pipes, and Apple is responsible for the entire customer experience, from sales and activation, through support, system updates/upgrades, maintenance, warranty repair and everything else.

    1. Thanks for the informative reply; I never had a cell phone before an iPhone, and on top of that don’t know if the carriers work like that in Canada either.

      Your last point is probably key–Apple is responsible for their hardware regardless, so that would motivate them to take more effort to ensure defective hardware doesn’t come back at them.

      Too bad that just like PCs, consumers don’t ever consider this added cost to “cheaper” products. Never mind the cost the carrier, it’s a cost to you in personal time and possibly loss of use of phone if they kept the phone for further tests.

    2. Poor and time-consuming service can be frustrating. Apple do have to deal with product issues and if you are in warranty then they are very efficient. My last iPhone 3GS was replaced twice. Each time they provided me with a new phone within 5 minutes of walking in at the store. Easy.

  3. So why don’t we have a fatass production of “The Agony and Ecstasy of Larry Page”, given that Android’s shartphones are stuffing not just supplier channels, but landfills worldwide?

    Oh, because no one gives a shit about Google as a brand.

    1. TCO/COO (Total Cost Of Ownership) has consistently been one of Apple product’s best assets. Similarly, Apple products also have excellent ROI (Return On Investment).

      That Google OS not-so Smartphones would follow in the muck trail of Microsoft Windows boxes is no surprise, albeit sad to see.

      Here’s hoping for REAL competition with Apple from SOMEONE in the future! 😎

  4. In other words, if the choices are:

    Cheap, crap
    Not cheap, not crap,

    most will choose cheap, and disregard the ‘crap’ part. Until they realise that the ‘crap’ part makes life somewhat miserable, and decide that the ‘cheap’ part doesn’t mean much if it comes bundled with the ‘crap’ part…

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