Thoughts on the Skinny 4G modem

Tim Hughes comments on Geekzone‘s story about Skinny’s 4G broadband service. He suggests $200 is a lot of money to pay upfront for a modem.

Maybe.

The Skinny 4G service costs $55 a month for 60GB of data. From reading the Skinny site it seems the modem is not optional.

If you stick with Skinny for a year the cost adds up to an extra $16 a month. Over two years it would be $8 a month.

So long as you can make a case for buying Skinny’s 4G broadband service in the first place, the extra cost of the modem makes sense.

Making the modem purchase an upfront cost means Skinny can offer 4G broadband without restrictive contracts. That flexibility makes the deal more attractive to some users.

I’d choose buying the $200 modem over a  12 or 24-month contract any day.

To put the price in perspective, I recently saw an invoice for a 33 Kbps modem I bought 20 years ago when working as a magazine editor in Sydney. It was A$700. That’s well over NZ$1000 in today’s money.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Skinny 4G modem

  1. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the residential cellular data offer is designed to be non-mobile.

    To ensure that the service isn’t moved easily, it’s tied to ethernet ports and power and the rest of weight in the chosen non-mobile terminal device.

    Skinny “only have one modem and one plan, so you don’t have to select anything. Easy!” For who, to enforce what?

    Despite an illustration of a carefree user on a scooter with the modem on the pillion, “If you try to use your Skinny modem at a new address without telling us we may disconnect it from our network.”

    So although cheaper cellular modems are available, the customer must be dissuaded from getting 60GB for $55 with the convenience of mobility by compulsory purchase of the kind of kit that makes it less useful.

    The difficulty of non-mobile data is partly technical, but mostly the exposure of the fact that there’s money still to be made at prices they won’t match when it includes the convenience of mobile.

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    • In effect, the deal is an RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative)-like plan for people who live anywhere. I suspect the modem — and collecting a fair slug of money upfront — is vital to Skinny’s 4G broadband business model.

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      • I agree, though from a glance at the pricing of the device at Amazon (conveniently provided with the article), it appears there’s a bit of subsidy still in it, possibly to achieve the consumer delight of a $[price-1]99 that would encourage uptake.

        The address checking, and locking may be about ensuring only poorly utilised cellsites get the burden of delivering so much bytes at so low a price, rather than coverage concerns alone.

        But it’s cannibalisation that I suspect is the major concern, 60GB, that’s a near unlimited as makes no nevermind, and for $55! You can’t have customers walking around with that. Yet.

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      • This will probably get some look in at a friends holiday place, which only has laughable ADSL at the moment. The low cap will not be a problem since it will only get used by the kids on the weekends sometimes, and it is quite reasonable to add another 60 gigs if needed.

        Just the issue of service at the address for them to solve.

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