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Summary:

Get your G1 playing pieces ready for the next round of Risk because Android is marching further into the EU territories. I don’t know if T-Mobile has a “Total World Domination” objective, but I wouldn’t underestimate any mobile army. Case in point: spies in the Android […]

t-mobile-g1Get your G1 playing pieces ready for the next round of Risk because Android is marching further into the EU territories. I don’t know if T-Mobile has a “Total World Domination” objective, but I wouldn’t underestimate any mobile army. Case in point: spies in the Android developer community have intercepted and decoded the following message:

“I’m writing to let you know that Android Market will become available to users in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Poland in the coming weeks. You can now target these countries for your application(s) via the publisher website at market.android.com/publish. As we add support for additional countries, we will send out subsequent notifications to you.”

Clearly, the strategic command has delivered orders so it should be a few short weeks before we see hordes of T-Mobile G1 handsets delivered from local quartermasters.

All joking aside, T-Mo is making a big, and expected push here. What I didn’t expect was the pricing model for the Android-based handset. In the case of Germany for example, a subsidized G1 is expected to cost a mere Euro out of pocket, provided the customer commit to a two-year service plan. Now that subsidization model is standard fare here in the U.S., but I thought it was considered undesirable in Europe.

I’m trying to figure out why T-Mobile is taking this route, at least in Germany. You’d think that a handset based on open source and offering great synergy with the cloud would sell itself at an unsubsidized price. Then again, it looks like T-Mobile went a similar route in the U.K., tying the “free” phone to one of many possible web’n’walk-type plans. Last I checked, those were 18-month plans with no option to purchase the phone directly at the full price. Any comments or corrections on my info from our readers overseas?

  1. T-Mo subsidizes all sorts of things in Germany, from cell phones, to netbooks, to laptops. For cell phones, of course, you have to sign a contract for phone service. For PCs, I believe they require a “Web-n-Walk” data contract. Cell phones are usually 1 Euro with a contract. PCs usually have some percentage of the price knocked off with a data contract.

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  2. Kevin, I don’t know what you mean by saying that subsidization was “undesirable” in Europe. It is quite common here in Germany…?

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  3. Actually it’s quite normal to sell phones for cheap in exchange for commiting to a two-year plan in europe…well, at least in czech rep.
    But there is always second option – paying more for phone, but without any commitment..

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  4. Yeah, in the Netherlands it’s also quite common to sell phones with an one or two-year plan. Even in combination with subsidized gifts like a netbook, nintendo ds, psp, et cetera.

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  5. When looking at phones in UK in November, I saw a lot of 12 month and 18 month deals on T-Mobile but not 24 months.The 18 months naturally gives better terms.

    2 year deals are still seen as a bit too long.

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  6. Hi, only a few words to tell you that here in Spain we don´t have any choice nor freedom to buy a phone like G1 or iPhone 3G at full price, just for use it with other companies. As i know, only in Italy ( by law ), where users have the right to choose what they consider unlocked. So if i want to buy an iPhone 3G or G1 unlocked i have to travel to Italy, in Spain it´s impossible, because Movistar ( Telefonica ) have all exclusives of this kind of devices, including the iPhone 3G, the Nokia XPress 5800, and the G1 as i read in the newspaper. By this way, spanish users can´t use a G1 here when Google signs with this company of course with the 18-24 month exclusive deals that i consider too long.

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  7. How awesome is it that we got comments from practically every country mentioned in the post! :) Thanks for the clarification, everyone. Clearly, I need to make use of that shiny, new passport.

    The reason I thought subsidization wasn’t prevelant in the EU: it seems that every time we mention two-year voice or data plan commitments here (in return for subsidized phones or devices) we get comments from around the world saying they don’t follow that business model. Good to know that we’re not the only ones suffering from what I call “cellular servitude”. ;)

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  8. Of course, Kevin, this servitude seems to be a “global 2 year´s pain” for users. That´s why i have to use an “old” New York iPhone here in Spain, with my own GSM provider, because i can´t buy a full price free iPhone 3G. And there´s a lot of people that do the same until this “cellular servitude” changes here en Europe. Thanks for your blog!

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  9. “Good to know that we’re not the only ones suffering from what I call “cellular servitude”.”

    Speaking for the Dutch, I think most people are quite happy with the system. First off, it’s not common to have exclusive phones for the networks (the only exception to my knowledge: iPhone and now the G1). Secondly you can choose between a cheap subsidized phone or a cheap plan, the latter we call sim-only and is typically half the price of a normal plan. So we are given quite a lot of choice, which I think is good!

    And like Desmond mentioned, they throw in all sorts of “free” gifts when you sign up for a normal plan. My brother and his girlfriend signed up for two contracts and got two phones, a big screen TV and a laundry machine :) .

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  10. I live in southern Spain and really really really want a G-1, when is it coming our way and which network will it be with?

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    1. Last I heard, Telefónica announced in February that they were bringing the HTC Dream in. They didn’t say when that would be however.

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    2. Expansys seems to offer unlocked G1

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