100% what ScruffR said. Particle definitely knows how to tailor a plan to meet your needs.
Considering that the hardware price is very advantageous, in a sense we’re lucky they allow 3rd-party SIM use at all. Those SARA modules aren’t cheap (maybe >$20/ea in volumes of 1-10k), and neither are the nice Taoglas antennas. I wouldn’t be surprised if the margin on the Electron is less than 100%. (Typically you need a 3-4x margin on COGS to stay in business, unless you’re doing absolutely huge volumes.).
Before hopping on the Particle bandwagon, we were building very small batches of our own custom boards with 2G modem, and our COGS was around $100/each. With this in mind, I consider that the free-market value of an Electron-like module is around $150/ea., and suddenly an initial price of $70 + two years at $3/mo. is a lot more reasonable.
Of course, I would still be very happy to see a tiered Product subscription plan where we could have a difference between products intended for downstream clients (such as Jacuzzi) and products which stay with the upstream company (such as a bikeshare company installing trackers on their bikes). In the former case, the $3/mo. Product plan offers a bunch of nice features. In the latter case, I think easy OTA support is the only real thing you’d miss.