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Re: Re: [sarex] MIR

Laura Halliday wrote:

> MarkG wrote:
> >
> > Amen! Move exclusively to digital and microwaves so you only need a little
> > dish and $5000 in equipment and I'll find another hobby without so much as a
> > second thought...
> Where did you get that number?
> While it costs money to get on any mode, a basic but serviceable
> L/S station shouldn't cost more than a tenth of that.
> Sadly, the notion that high-tech == high-cost remains as wide-
> spread in AMSAT as in other areas of ham radio. Makes me
> wonder how manufacturers can roll out high-tech equipment
> like portable digital phones, charge the pittance they do,
> and manage to make any money...
> --
> Laura Halliday VA3LDH    "Laisse le vent tout emporter..."
> Grid: FN03gs                - Foly/Viennet

Laura, I do not know where Mark has taken his numbers, however my two cent's worth
follows on your comments.  While it may or may not be true that "high-tech/~=high
cost" ratio incl. AMSAT,  here are some of the reasons -  albeit not comprehensive
- "...how manufacturers can roll out high-tech equipment..."

The key and operative words are IMO: "turnover" and "volume".  If cellular company
A places an order for 100K units of a particular model from an OEM, that has
clout.  OEM company B will also receive an order for 150K units from an other
manufacturer, thus they go head-to-head in competing.  The unit price will
dramatically drop, since the initial tooling by the OEM's will be reduced
significantly with volume production/sales. The 'force multiplier' is volume,
while new widgets and 'improvements' over the lifetime of a particular model is
relatively low but turnover is high.  Each cellular company can pass on the the
savings to the end user, which is beneficial to all of us.

So the question of "...charge the pittance they do, and manage to make any money"
can be answered by the following:  in broad brush terms, you and I as end users
have a monthly contract which costs X.  Each minute of usage costs Y.
Additionally we pay a monthly base charge or fee which is used by the cellular
companies to:
a) recoup most of their hardware/software expenses.
b) expand services.
c) make a profit.
d) subsidize the purchase of a cellular phone, whose life expectancy is approx.
2-3 years before the customer upgrades.
e) peripheral sales such as batteries, leather holsters and other goodies which
are high mark-up items.
f) installation (in vehicles) charges - a very important "profit center".
g) most cellular companies round up to the nearest minute even if you only use a
fraction of a minute, and these fractions certainly add up when multiplied by the
number of calls and the number of users in a month or a year - this single "item"
equals to millions in a year of "free" money to the cellular folks.
h) new services will cost more - at least initially, until they level out or drop
in price, thus making a nice profit.  For example the analog vs. digital phones of
only a couple of years ago.
i) Roaming.  This is a 'beaut' of a mark up area; very profitable.

As you know, the only exception of a per minute charge in North America is, a call
to 911 which is free.  This call incidentally is also subsidized (at least in the
USA) by the locality (your tax money at work) that charges for your 'privilege' to
make those calls via your monthly phone bill.  In all of the above, I could be
wrong but me thinketh that I am close to the mark - your mileage may vary.


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