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January 4th, 2010

Cell Phone Pricing: Still a PITA

People who know me know I like things to be simple. I like straightforward things. Things that are easy to understand. (Like sentence fragments!)

Therefore, cell phone pricing is my enemy.

This past weekend The Wife and I spent some time considering the move back to cell phones as our primary phones. We had switched away from them and use a landline for primary contact with prepaid cell phones providing an ancillary role. But doing solely prepaid can be tricky, especially when one needs to check email on a phone whose screen can hold as many characters as a VIC-20.

But the pricing is what kills everything. First of all, for both of us to get iPhones with unlimited data, text messaging, and voice would be nearly $300 per month. That’s not how we want to spend our money. We looked at Sprint (mostly for the Pre). One can get unlimited mobile-to-mobile, text, and data, but not unlimited calls to landlines, for something like $130 (shared on a family plan.) That’s okay.

The overall frustrating thing is that “unlimited” needs those quotation marks; it’s rarely actually unlimited. With mobile broadband, some providers cap you or throttle your bandwidth. With mobile voice, you may pay roaming charges. And then there’s the nickel-and-diming for features with nickels that are $20 and dimes that are $40 per month.

I still think there’s an opportunity for a provider to do truly unlimited calls, text, and data for a flat fee that isn’t through the roof. Some come close, but given the state of the cell phone industry it’s not surprising that this is a big ol’ mess.

Posted in Technology

Dave Walls January 11, 2010, 1:10 pm

They can’t even make discounts easy – For my PT job, I get a discount from Verizon on my existing service. How much? “Up to” a certain percent. How much exactly? No one can tell me for sure. Even when I pull the account up online, it says “you may save up to…”.

Why should I be forced to guess how much of a discount I’m entitled to?

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