Let’s get something out of the way. I went out yesterday and bought an iPhone 3GS. It cost me my hard-earned cash and I’m selling my iPhone 3G to part fund this purchase. My wife has done the same. End of the day, we’re prepared to pay for the gadgets we want.
Some people think they’re entitled to anything they desire. I’ve whined about the entitlementard strategy here, here, here and here.
The latest dose of entitlementard comes at the launch of the iPhone 3GS.
It’s characterised by the #o2fail hashtag. But why are people incensed by it?
Y’see, back in October 2007, we bought out iPhones for over Â£250 and we were given an 18 month contract. In July of 2008, we were ‘allowed’ to break our contract and ‘upgrade’ to a subsidised iPhone 3G. It meant I spent Â£50-odd to get the 16 GB model and my other half upgraded for free to the 8 Gb model. It meant taking on a new contract but seeing as the iPhone was exclusive on O2, we weren’t going anywhere anyway. This iPhone was heavily subsidised, amortised across your 18 month contract, the same way that most smartphones are when you sign up to a contract and get a kick-ass phone. Nothing startling there.
The 3G was an upgrade on the original iPhone. It had a GPS, it had more storage, it had a better bluetooth chip. These things cost money. Actual, real money. Someone has to pay for that.
Roll on eleven months and the iPhone 3GS was released. Brand new chip which was 2-3 times faster than the previous model with a modest increase in clock speed, a new 3D chip, a magnetometer, more storage, a better battery and other tweaks.
Immediately a heap of folk on the ‘net expected that O2 would immediately allow ‘loyal’ iPhone 3G customers who still had 7 months or more on their contract to magically upgrade to the new iPhone. O2 offered two options. Upgrade early by:
- using your O2 priority status (if you pay more than Â£80 a month, you can upgrade 6 months early and pay off the ‘extra month’. The rationale being that you’ve put a lot more cash through O2 than the average punter and they want to reward you for that – you’re much more likely to have paid off the subsidy after all.
- buying out the remainder of your contract. Probably a minimum of Â£35 x 7 months as an up-front cost plus then the cost of a new contract and new phone.
and the only other option was buying a PAYG iPhone 3GS at full price and swapping SIMs. In any other situation, dealing with any other population of users, these options would be fair enough.
The explosion of anger from the so-called loyalists was nothing sort of laughable. The poor sap behind the O2 Twitter presence has to be a saint. These guys wanted free upgrades. They’ve screamed, they’ve shouted. They’ve called names, threatened to leave O2. They wanted to be able to walk out of their subsidised contracts and not have to pay up. These are not the actions and behaviour of ‘loyal’ customers. And let’s be honest – with 110% mobile phone saturation out there, the addition or subtraction of a couple of thousand subscribers is worth precisely nothing to the big carriers.
Some remain adamant that O2 will be forced to change their minds. Some are very angry that OS are not folding to their vocal public opinion and that unless you are an iPhone user with an O2 contract, you cannot fully understand the complexity of the argument with O2. Hm, now that’s not really true. This is just a case of gadget-lust, a case of some folk feeling entitled to something that they have no right being entitled to.
Now, those who did upgrade anyway are apparently “elitist/herd”.
Now, think about this. Anyone who is using the #o2fail hashtag on Twitter wants an iPhone 3GS. They want a free iPhone 3GS. Heck, I want a free iPhone 3GS. But I am willing to pay for what I want and I’m not really the sort of person to whine about it for lengthy periods of time. Remember – it’s two weeks ago that the iPhone 3GS was launched. It’s two weeks we’ve known about the pricing – and some people are still whining about it. But there’s a certain kind of hypocrisy calling people “herd” for actually deciding to go and buy it using their hard-earned cash.
That’s the Entitlementard hypocrisy.