Unlocked Cell Phones - Do Carriers Want These Customers?

I recently tried to get a data-only account on an unlocked GSM phone so that I could use it internationally. I had no idea how hard it would be - no carrier seemed to want me as their customer.

First, I tried the phone. As an American consumer of wireless services, I expect something for free for signing on to a one or two year contract. I wanted a "deal" or an incentive for signing on. They kept offering me a free phone. I kept saying, "I have a phone. What else can you do for me? Why should I be your customer?" They had no answer. There just seemed to be the free, mid-tier phone that I didn't want. ???

I tried the phone again. This time I called a provider with whom I had a prepaid account with a balance - apparently a balance of over $400 due to some bonus points/minutes. I wanted to convert my prepaid credit into postpaid minutes on the new account. They wouldn't do it. They wouldn't tell me why - the answer was simply "no." I guessed that the revenue has already been "booked" (though the minutes aren't used) in the prepaid division and they have no reason to give it up even though in theory it's one company.

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Listen Up! Announcing Forrester Podcasts

In the name of “humanizing the digital experience” – the theme from Forrester’s 2006 Consumer Forum -- we’ve decided to try a new way to deliver you relevant research content to make you more successful in your job: Forrester Podcasts! 

Our first installment of podcasts focuses on interactive marketing including: mobile marketing, social computing, consumer generated content, word of mouth marketing.  And it includes a conversation with Pete Kim about his big idea for re-inventing the marketing organization, and the work I have in progress about the interactive marketing organization.  Our podcasts also sample some great Forrester and industry presentations from our Consumer Forum featuring Jim Skinner the CEO of McDonalds, Michelle Peluso, President and CEO of Travelocity, and Jeff Hicks the CEO and Partner of agency giant Crispin Porter & Bogusky among others.

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