The Essential Phone (PH-1) is now available in France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. The release comes a little more than eight months after the handset debuted in the United States, where it’s available unlocked from the firm’s online store and on-contract through independent carrier Sprint.
But when Essential says it’s ‘available’, it means it will ship the unit to the countries… for a fee. We ran through the checkout process and were surprised to see that it’s charging $33.88 (£24.59) to put the device on a plane to England. It’s also billing the final amount in dollars (USD), totalling $532.88 (£386.71).
It would have been more logical for Essential to strike a deal with a distribution network – like Amazon – in the aforementioned regions to provide customers with the option to purchase the Essential Phone, without having to cover the shipping costs and, of course, their bank’s fee for processing an international transaction.
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“Packages shipped outside of the United States may be subject to import taxes, or customs duties, and fees levied by the destination country. You are responsible for such charges and any additional charges for customs clearance,” writes Essential in the Customs, Duties & Taxes documentation on its website.
By this point it’s safe to say that anyone thinking of picking up the Essential Phone on a whim has thought twice. The only people likely still interested are those who considered importing it at an earlier date, but those select few aren’t going to give Essential the sales it so desperately needs to make a considerable profit.
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Essential posted disappointing sales figures for 2017, shipping a total of 88,000 units, and it’s been looking for ways to eclipse that figure in 2018. Launching the device in additional markets is just one of those ideas, and it’s a shame because it probably would have driven some sales if the firm had gone about it right.
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