Why Can't US Dell Streak Buyers Pay Like UK Dell Streak Buyers?

By  |  Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 11:24 pm

If you live in the UK and are willing to sign a two-year contract for a data plan that costs 35 pounds a month–that’s about $55 to us yanks–you can get Dell’s Streak superphone/tiny tablet for free. (The wireless carrier is O2, which seems to specialize in free phones: It’ll even give you an iPhone if you commit to a pricey enough plan.)

Assuming the Streak appeals to you, it’s a tempting offer; I first heard about it a few weeks ago, when I asked a Dell representative what the device might cost in the US. He mentioned the UK deal and said that the Streak was a hit.

Dell finally announced stateside availability and pricing for the Streak today. It’ll go on sale on Thursday. AT&T is the carrier. And if you sign up for a two-year contract, you’ll pay $299.99. Sans contract, the Streak will be $549.99.

It’s not hard to do the math on how AT&T probably came up with the $299.99 subsidized price: $199 is pretty much the standard price for a smartphone with 16GB of storage (which the Streak has) or thereabouts. The Streak’s 5″ screen takes it beyond mundane smartphone status into tablet territory, an advantage that AT&T presumably thinks some people will pay a $100 premium for.

Some will, I’m sure. But it would have been fun to see how the Streak would have fared here if it had shipped at the most irresistible price of all: $0. I’ll be curious to see if it follows the pattern of the original Droid, the Palm Pre, and other phones that have become available for thirty bucks or so within a few months of their release.

So would you buy a Streak for $550 or $300–or any price at all?


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11 Comments For This Post

  1. derloos Says:

    That's a revenge to you yanks for having pretty much everything else 30 to 50% cheaper. Touche!

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    True, I'm reminded how incredibly spoiled we are every time I visit Europe and see what gadgets cost there.


  3. Wigarse Says:

    For the record, O2 doesn't "specialize" in free phones, that's the standard way of doing things in the UK. We very seldom actually pay for a handset, it is the norm for us to sign up for a minimum term contract and the phone is given away free as part of the deal. It's not really free, because sim only plans are cheaper; it spreads the cost of the handset across the length of the contract.

    Lot's of people get a phone on a contract then, when it's finished, get a sim card and put it in the old now out-of-contract phone. Many others (like me) find they always want the latest tech and upgrade to the newest piece of shiny stuff as soon as is decent. Most providers now allow you to upgrade to a new handset and new contract before the old one has finished so as to lock you in for another year.

    10 years ago we in the UK would travel to the US or Japan where the latest gadgets were available earlier and cheaper. Strangely, since moving to Japan a year ago I have discovered that the UK is now quite a good place to buy tech and is FAR ahead of Japan in terms of both quality and price. I'm now buying all my kit while I'm home for my holidays and shipping it back out to Japan!

  4. Harry McCracken Says:

    Thanks for the details!


  5. Tony Vinayak Says:

    Would I buy a Dell Streak at any price at all? Not sure. Too big for a smartphone and too small to be a tablet I think.

  6. David Says:

    For a look at some SIM only price comparisons in the UK, you may find this enlightening – the Telegraph newspaper published this back in June:

  7. Avro Says:


    Americans also get charged when someone calls them on a mobile phone. ????? This causes shock and amazement to those of us in Europe. No one here would stand for that.

    Paying for a contract phone? That is a pretty odd way of doing business too.

  8. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Answer: because there is no carrier competition in the US. There are just 4 overlapping monopolies:

    – AT&T has a monopoly on standardized GSM phones
    – Verizon has a monopoly on nonstandard Verizon phones
    – Sprint has a monopoly on nonstandard Sprint phones
    – T-Mobile has a monopoly on nonstandard T-Mobile phones (although they use GSM, they use nonstandard frequencies)

    So who can sell you a standardized GSM Dell Streak in the UK? 5 different carriers who all compete for your business. Who can sell you that same standardized GSM Dell Streak in the US? AT&T.

    The US carrier market is broken, just like the broadband market, cable market, and many other markets, because of deregulation and starved infrastructure. The fact that you can't run your iPhone on Verizon is a result of this. Verizon built a nonstandard network for anti-competitive reasons, not competitive ones (else why choose a technology that runs at half speed?) They don't compete with AT&T because they don't want to compete with AT&T. In the UK, you buy your iPhone at the Apple Store and then go carrier shopping from a choice of 5 carriers to see who will win the privilege of running your iPhone.

  9. fred Says:


    Dell Streak for $350usd
    iPhone 4G for $400usd
    HTC EVO 4G for $380usd
    Google Nexus One for $330usd
    Apple iPad Wi-Fi+3G 64GB for $400usd


    # 5" WVGA touch display with Gorilla Glass
    # Android 1.6 OS with full GSM functionality and Marketplace.
    # Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon Processor
    # 5.0 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus
    # VGA front-facing camera
    # H.263/264, 4GP, MPEG, WMV compatible video
    # MP3, MP$, WMA, AAC/AAC+/eAAC, AMR, Midi and Wav Sound Compatibility
    # WebKit Android internet Browser
    # SDRAM: 256 MB
    # ROM: 512MB
    # 2GB non-user accessible system and application files
    # microSD cardslot with 8/16/32 GB pre-installed options ( expandable to 48 GB)
    # Wi-Fi: WLAN802.11b/g
    # Bluetooth
    # USB 2.0
    # Weight: ~220 grams
    # Battery: 1530mAh
    # Ambient Light Sensor
    # Accelerometer
    # E-compass
    # GPS
    # Capacitive Sensor Keys

    IF INTERESTED CONTACT US: lib_mobile@live.com

    We offer prompt shipping from our Store, The product will arrive at your destination within 2 or 3 Days Via UPS/FedEx Courier Services.


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