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flip86's avatar

Smartphone data plans are a ripoff: Do you agree?

Asked by flip86 (6208points) August 9th, 2016

Smartphone data plans are a ripoff. They charge $35 for a measly 2 GB of data on top of $20 for voice service. That is $55 for a basic smartphone service for 1 person. Additional data is $15 per GB. So for 3 GB of data plus voice you pay $70 a month! That is outrageously expensive. A little over $16 a GB not including price of voice.

My home internet has unlimited bandwidth up to 30 mbps for $45 a month. I average about 110 GB a month. That equals about 40 cents per GB. I have no cap. Why would anyone pay for a smartphone plan when home internet is so cheap?

My tablet can connect to WiFi hot spots for free. WiFi hot spots are everywhere. If you really need to connect outside your home it isn’t hard to find one. Why pay for mobile data? Just about every smartphone nowadays is WiFi enabled. Most people don’t even use half their data. They conserve it cause they are worried about going over and being charged prohibitively high overage charges. Most smartphone users connect to free/home Wifi anyway.

Mobile data is the modern snake oil. It is a huge ripoff and these greedy mobile carriers are raking in billions because their data plans are mandatory. I highly doubt that even a third of their customers would pay for a data plan if they were optional.

I’m probably one of the very last holdouts for smartphones because of the mandatory ripoff data plans these companies impose on everyone. The average smartphone bill for Verizon is $148 a month. With all other carriers averaging well over $100 a month. Just for a piddly amount of overpriced data and voice.

Note: Even if you supply your own phone, these companies still require yo to have a data plan.

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20 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Yes. I was charged $250 a month for going over 30 Gigs from watching youtube. Now I pay $80 for unlimited data at home and $80 for a half gig roaming. Naturally I tend to stay at home and Fluthering for free.

Seek's avatar

I have a prepaid plan. $35 a month for 5 gigs of LTE and unlimited dialup or whatever after that. I live in a fairly rural area so hotspots aren’t very common. When I lived closer to the city I did without phone service at all, and used my Google Voice number to call and text on VOIP.

gorillapaws's avatar

A. Yes I agree.

B. Makes me happy I still have my unlimited data plan grandfathered in on AT&T. I can’t tether, but I never have to stress about counting my bits (which is ridiculous).

elbanditoroso's avatar

Some are, some aren’t. I have unlimited with Tmobile, and rollover, and free streaming of more than 100 sites.

So what’s the problem?

Winter_Pariah's avatar

I’m glad I don’t have to put up with all of that. I’ve got unlimited talk text and data (3 GB at 4G LTE, the rest not at 4G LTE) for $36/month through a no contract provider. Great reception, great service and I’m pretty happy with it all.

zenvelo's avatar

I pay $80 a month for 10Gb data, shared amongst three lines. My son used 5 gigs last month, watching a lot of video and streaming Spotify in the car.

It’s a lot better since we switched to a plan with unlimited talk and text.

hornet's avatar

I am currently using Republic Wireless and it works well for me. However, I am seriously tempted by Project Fi.

Zaku's avatar

Of course. It’s a total rip-off. Telecomm companies, like most corporations without enough real competition, constantly play games to see how much money they can squeeze from people, where actual value won’t be considered fairly unless forced to. They have constantly fought that war against government limits to what they can charge for plain land lines for decades, and the cell phones gave them an excuse, an angle, and an area where government regulations were/are behind in preventing them from coming up from a myriad of schemes to squeeze money with little or no basis for why they charge so much, other than that it works for them. Hence the tons of complex rules for fees and how they change the rules nearly constantly.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Expensive cell phone plans are not mandatory if you make a little effort.

Buy your own phone. I typically spend $100 every two years for a phone. I get a really nice year-old phone off eBay for $200 and sell the old one for $100.

Get a Google voice number. You can make and take free calls from any computer and your phone over wifi.

Get a prepaid plan. I use Truphone.
I pay $0.09 per voice minute outgoing, $0.09 per text, and $0.09 per MB data. Incoming calls are free.
When I’m traveling, I spend $30/month. When I’m not traveling, it’s less than $10.

I keep the data link off unless I really need to look something up. I don’t watch video or stream music on my phone unless it’s over wifi.

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dabbler's avatar

Yep, for that reason and for battery life I have a ‘stupid’ phone, a good old flip-phone that I have to charge about one a week or so.
About twice a year I wish I could look up something while I’m out and about… for that convenience I won’t pay for a data plan.

jca's avatar

A friend has a Walmart plan and it seems to be pretty cheap. If I had to pay for a plan, I’d go that route.

Pachy's avatar

Welcome to the American free economy, where every consumer has the right not to buy any service or service he feels is overpriced.

flutherother's avatar

They are designed to confuse and they are a rip off. Overseas plans in particular have been scandalously overpriced for years. I think the companies must be in cahoots.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Well, who wouldn’t be happier to pay less?

But when I consider all that is available to me through data, and the fact I don’t have to think about the plan itself, I would hardly call it a rip off.

Besides, who actually talks on their phone?

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

I’m also a recent convert to smartphones, having resisted until just a few months ago. What I found when doing my research is that the major companies set their prices against each other because most people don’t look into smaller providers. If you expand your search, you can get some good deals. I pay $30/month for unlimited talk, text, and data. I get 500 MB of high speed, and unlimited data at 2G speed after that. I’ve never gone over, but I could get 4 GB of high speed data for an extra $10/month. And since there’s no contract, I can change plans or abandon my carrier at any time. It’s been great so far.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I agree. Take heart though. The days are numbered for the greedy bastards. Just as the Roku and other get arounds have loosened the choke hold of the cable crime syndicates and shunted them to imminent irrelevance, the mobile providers will quickly follow suit. The unfailing trait of greed is in the failure of the greedy to appreciate that nothing spurs innovation faster than occupying the victim seat in an extortion. You would think the thieves might have the sense to charge reasonable rates and thereby eliminate the incentive to remove their death grip on consumer wallets. But nope. Make hay while the sun shines.

Aethelwine's avatar

I agree. We dropped Uscellular and we’re saving $150 a month now. We use our smart phones with home Wi-Fi and a $10 Tracphone to make calls. I spend about $20 per month now.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’ll go for the cheaper providers so long as the network is reliable with good coverage. I don’t mind paying a little for the service because it’s so usefull.

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