Android Subsidized Phones: The Rip-Off


Like many of you, I am trapped in an abusive relationship. And Verizon, its time we started seeing other people. It's not me its you.

I LOVE my Samsung Galaxy Nexus (LTE). The speed of LTE is staggering, the phone was easy to unlock and root, and it has the hardware I need to do what I want. This is a smartphone that truly won my heart. Of course, I'm running a custom ROM, (AOKP Milestone 1 at the moment) not the version of ICS that is currently disgracing the Nexus brand on Verizon's iteration of the G.Nexus. One of the things that attracted me to the Galaxy Nexus over the HTC One X was the fantastic community of developers that support a plethora of stable, feature-rich ROMs. But most of us (Android users) don't take the time to root our phones, and lets face it: there are millions of people out there using outdated software on a Nexus device, and they don't deserve to live that way. Not to mention that it defeats the purpose of a Nexus device. The Nexus brand is being damaged every day that a Nexus phone goes without getting the latest and greatest from Google.

And that is why I have bought my last carrier subsidized phone. I'm sick of the skins (although they have improved greatly over the past year), the delayed updates, and most of all, the outrageous monthly fee that carriers impose. I currently have 3 lines on my Verizon account. All 3 have texting and data, and my bill comes to no less than $260 every single month. Yes, I do have access to what is without question the best LTE network in the country, but at what cost? ($260 is the cost, yes, stick with me here) but I also sacrifice timely software updates and the pure Android experience that the Nexus line was created to provide. The party that is responsible for this travesty? Verizon.


For an upfront cost of $900 I could have purchased three top-of-the-line phones with no bloatware or skin for all 3 of my lines. And for another $160 a month I could be on an HSPA+ network that, while not as fast as LTE, still has tolerable speeds. And since I have my phone connected to wifi 80% of the time, I can't really count the network speed differential as a significant downgrade in my experience. But lets get back to the money. I'd be saving around $1200 a year while only spending an extra $300-$400 up front (assuming the carrier subsidized price for the Nexus 4 will be around $199). This seems like a no-brainer and yet to my shame it wasn't the decision I made 7 months ago (and counting). I wasn't ready to venture out into the world without being tethered to a contract. And that was my (wallet's) downfall.

Now I am in a committed relationship with a partner who doesn't need me as much as I need them. My significant other doesn't answer when I call, and takes at least a hundred bucks out of my pocket every month that I didn't need to spend. Plus I have a contract with Verizon. (insert rimshot here)

But seriously folks, spending a few extra bucks up front to save almost a grand every year should be common sense. So I encourage you to let your contract with your carrier expire, save up a few bucks to grab a Nexus 4 (or whatever the latest, greatest from Google will be when you are free) and end the abusive relationship you are trapped in.

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Doug has been a fan of Android ever since he got his hands on the OG Droid a few days after it came out. Android and the mobile industry were his favorite hobbies long before he began writing about the mobile industry professionally. Doug currently resides in Chicago and you can find his musings about various TV related topics at

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