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Fairphone 2 is way too expensive for me and many friends

Hi, just wanted to back Schroeda here. Not that I dont understand the answers but the price of the FP2 really is an issue for a lot of people imo. 300€ for the FP1 was already a bit high for me. I wouldn’t have bought a 300€ phone it if it wasnt “fair”. Now when people ask about my FP1 and finally tell me they also want a fair phone I know that going for the FP2 won’t be an option most of the time. Its a shame. I tried to promote the idea of the fair phone just by showing mine to everyone I could but in the end, nobody bought the FP2. Its too bad there is no fair mobile phone with lower tech spec and a lower price. It should be possible to produce a cheaper basic model. If someone produce it I m pretty sure they 'll have a lot of customers… One might even consider producing a fair mobile phone that aint “smart”. Just a telephone.

Everything with lower tech specs and lower price in most cases means lower quality components (and exploitation of humans and nature).

So the higher the quality the longer the phone works. Given the FP2 is built for a lifetime of at least 5 years, this makes 105€ per year (or under 10€ per month). I think this is rather economical.

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I get that, no need to convince me that quality and fairness has a price :slight_smile:
Still, its 500€. Which means too much for a lot of people.
If what conventional products offer is too good to be fair, you have a choice: either you pay more to get it “fair” OR you lower your expectations/needs.
I dont need a touchscreen for a start! (this is what I mean by lowering tech spec, not reaching the same achievements with lower technical or human quality).

I dont mean to criticize FP. I just regret that there is only one and that its price, right as it may be, is too high for me and a lot of people.

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There’s a few problems with that “solution”.

  • Having two versions of the phone greatly increases production costs. You’ll need two separate production lines and two separate assembly lines.
  • The actual cost of the chipset in there will only be marginally lower if you choose to put last year’s SoC in there. Last year’s SoC might not even be available or in production anymore. The SoC manufacturer might choose to not support it anymore either, which is a risk.
  • Putting a smaller screen in there or less memory probably only pushes costs down only marginally.
  • Similar to the first point, you’ll need to support two different devices, which puts an added strain on the customer support as well as the software development side of things.
  • Having two SKU’s of the same product means it’s more difficult to keep stock. Simply said, your stock needs to be twice as large to keep shipping phones to people.
  • The increase in potential customers probably doesn’t offset the additional costs you have.
  • To recoup costs it’s not unthinkable that the high end version would be even more expensive than the current FP2 model while the low end version would be not that much cheaper than the current FP2 model.

So in short, having two versions of the same phone probably has an adverse effect on the cost of the device(s) and would most likely be a terrible decision from a business perspective.

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Curious, what do you think is a good price for a phone? The advent of sub-€200 phones has really only started with the arrival of the Moto G line of Motorola (not counting cheap knockoff phones that aren’t worth their salt). And to be honest, the price of the Moto G and Moto X phones makes me a bit suspicious towards them. How are they getting such relatively high quality phones for such low prices? Someone ends up paying for that.

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This is a related discussion:

According to what some people write here, the FP1 must be a bunch of crap. Unsustainable, unfair, unuseful…

  • Well except for some problems with the USB socket, I’m still quite fine with it (knocking on wood). The 340 EUR were acceptable to me and I could afford them, although not easily. Not to be forgotten: Also FP1 was significantly more expensive than ‘unfair’ phones of the same power level!

Although a number of forum members has tried to explain the reason for the 180 EUR price rise, I still don’t really understand it. According to Johannes’ calculation, currency value alterations explain 50 of the 180 EUR.
But where exactly do the remaining 130 EUR go?
Some days ago I had asked for the reason of the dramatic rise in product and material costs:
FP1 had costs of 130 EUR for “design, engineering, components, manufacturing and assembly”.
In FP2, these costs sum up to 300 EUR - 230 of those just for material costs!

So I repeat my question:
=>> Has the number and the amount of materials used for FP2 grown that much? Or are the producers of the materials so much better paid than they were back in FP1’s times?
I hope for some answer a bit more detailed than telling me what I’ve known for quite a number of years now: that conventional smartphones are not fair.

Once more the links to the costs’ breakdowns:
FP1:
https://www.fairphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Fairphone_Cost_Breakdown_and_Key_Sept2013.pdf
FP2:

As far as I understand, there are two major differences between the FP1 and FP2. These differences will add up for most of this 130€, I guess:

  1. The FP2 is a better phone. Simply put, it has better components (because these should last longer). Better components cost more money.
  2. the FP2 was designed from scratch by Fairphone. So you have to include design/engineering costs. These cost have to be spread out over a relatively small amount of phones.

I also assume the fairtrade gold will be more expensive, but I don’t know if they adapted the cost breakdown after the inclusion of this new material stream?

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Many components in the FP are simply being bought. And if you by fast components, they will be more expensive than slower ones. They are not necessarily “better” in quality or “more” but simply more expensive because the companies manufacturing them put a lot of effort into research and need to recover their investments. Just think of a PC processor: You can buy one from intel with 2 cores and 2 GHZ or you can buy one with 4 cores and 2,5 GHZ or one with 8 cores and 3,5 GHZ and many many other combinations. It is usually not much more expensive to make a fast processor compared to making a slow one, but they offer different levels to serve a broader customer spectrum. The same applies to the FP2 internals. It is much much faster and has more expensive components, that hopefuly will last longer than the FP1. Fairphone did not make every single tiny component of the phone themselves. That would be impossible.

The FP1 is not a perfect phone, the FP2 also isn’t. It’s just a step closer to it :slight_smile:
The FP1 was a first step into making sustainable and fair phones and the FP2 is the next step in that direction. And the FP3 will be another big step and will trump many of the FP2’s achievements. Just because the one is better than the other, it doesn’t mean that the other is crap. So don’t get confused. If you’re happy with your FP1, that is excellent!!! :slight_smile:

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Re-design can be fine …
I think it’s good to have the fairphone redesigned to eleminate some weaknesses of the FP1. For example, I currently might have to buy a complete new motherboard for 120 EUR (and cause some more suffering and damage in other parts of the world) just because one pin in the USB socket is broken. I do hope the FP2 is better concerning such topics, but the FP2’s main board costs 320 EUR which makes me fear also the FP2 is not the crown of repairability and thus sustainability.)

  • The delevopment costs for the FP2, however, are stated as 33 EUR.

…BUT re-powering is not necessary:
As said before, I consider it unnecessary to climb into a different power class with the FP2. Moritz compared this with the different classes of PC processors. For my job I in fact need a notebook with 4 cores, but this is only because I have to work with 3D models. For any other work I (and most people I know) perform on the notebook, the “2 core 2 GHz” Moritz mentioned would absolutely do.
And it’s the same with the phone: I don’t need a phone which is MUCH faster and has many more pixels than the FP1. Again, I’m pretty sure a lot of potential fairphone buyers don’t need this either - and CAN simply not afford it.

2 different FPs are possible!
So I come back to the suggestion of two fairphones with different power levels. Jerry mentioned, for example, two FP types would be difficult to handle and therefore severely increase handling costs. - Well, I can’t imagine that storing and selling two types of phones would be so difficult: There are some hundreds of thousands of ebay and street sellers in this world and most of those have a huge portfolio spreading from beer to headphones up to hair shampoo - and they all can easily deal with all these hundreds of different products.
Okay, the development costs could be be higher (yet, how about synergies??), but the circle of customers would sure increase a lot if there was (s)lower, still sustainable fairphone class phone below the, lets’s say, somewhat magic 399 EUR limit.

Phone repair shops can deal with such an issue for under 20€ 39€. At least in Vienna I know a two phone shops that repair broken USB sockets.

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Hi, Stefan, thanks for your hint. However, in Berlin, I’ve been in two repair shops with good reputation. Both knew and actually liked the fairphone. But the first shop owner totally refused to do any soldering work at phone boards. The second one was initially very enthusiastic and found out that the socket itself is broken and re-soldering it onto the board wouldn’t help. He promised to get a new socket and to solder it onto the board (for around 50 EUR). But the next day he told me, his parts dealer wouldn’t have this socket type on offer so he couldn’t help me.
Fairphone’s customer ‘support’ hasn’t replied to my corresponding ticket since May 28th.
-> Do you know any source for the type of USB sockets used in FP1? (Thanks in advance.)

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The spare part for the USB socket can be bought at Farnell: http://de.farnell.com/molex/105017-0001/micro-usb-2-0-buchse-typ-b-smd/dp/2293836?ost=2293836&searchSelect=de_DE&selectedCategoryId=&iscrfnonsku=false
More infos in this topic: FP1(U): USB connector / part number and order information

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Hi Irina, thanks for the helpful link!
But according to that thread, replacing the FP1’s USB socket seems to be a pretty hard job with a good chance of wrecking the entire board.
From that thread, another link leads to some Berlin Fairphoner who has recently dealt with similar problems. I hope that he can help me but he’s probably gonna be quite busy during the summer…
(And I hope future fairphones will really be more sustainable so that FP2 users won’t have be put off to another new generation when the first FP2s start showing signs of wear…)

Well, I wouldn’t dare to solder it myself, but if you buy the part (it’s really cheap) and take it to the repairshop, maybe they can do it. Of course there’s a risk to wreck the mainboard, but since the alternative is to replace it anyway, I think it might be worth a try.

Another thing that’s possible would be to live without the USB socket. An external universal charger and a second battery could provide you a more or less comfortable power supply. Data exchange could be done by bluetooth or wifi.

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I suppose there are no networks in your country offering the FP2 on a contract? I’m in the UK and earning well below the national average, and I also would not be able to fork out 450 GBP for the handset only, but the Co-op mobile network offers it on a range of contracts starting at 25 GBP, which is the one I took. I was burned by my first month of reckless data usage, but even on my low income I can afford what amounts to less than £1 a day.

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Just for reference, here is a list of Fairphone mobile contracts by country:

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I found that Co-op had priced themselves a little too high and hadn’t taken into account the potentially longer lifespan of the FP2, writing the cost of the phone off over 2 years on the 24 month contract. Fortunately I was in the position to purchase the phone outright and continue with a sim only contract on Vodafone, in my mind, writing the FP2 off over 3 years (but hoping for longer). A bit of a gamble perhaps, but in the long run, cheaper. I was quite disappointed by Co-op mobile…which forced me to look at other options… Initially I was trying to move away from Vodafone but when it turned out Co-op were using them for 4G anyway…it made the decision a lot easier!

The cost factor of a phone is interesting, and I think it really has to be looked at in a way of writing it off over a chosen period of time.

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Yes, the Co-op contracts are a little higher than my previous sim-only contract with EE, so I’ve had to settle for 3G only for the time being. Supposedly they use EE for their mobile coverage too, which also made my decision easier. I haven’t had 4G yet, so I suppose I don’t know what I’m missing!

The writing-it-off-over-time model definitely seems like the right way to look at the cost here, like you said, I’m hoping for 3 years use at the very least; that’s what I’ve managed from handed-down iPhones, and my expectation is that with the FP2 I should far exceed that!

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