Social Question

ubersiren's avatar

How come so many people pay extraordinary prices for mobile devices and plans?

Asked by ubersiren (15193points) January 18th, 2010

I would love to have the internet on my phone and a fun device. But, good Lord, that’s a lot of money! The phone itself is expensive, then all the bells and whistles, data plan, gps plan, etc. What a racket these companies have going! And it seems everyone is buying into it.

Is it just plain worth the money to most people? Has this stuff become a necessity, or at least a standard in our society? Why will people agree to pay so much, especially if it isn’t for work or something?

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38 Answers

willbrawn's avatar

I like having toys. But you make me feel bad : (

Seek's avatar

I have no idea.

I pay $30 a month for a prepaid plan with 1000 minutes, 1000 texts, and 30 MB of data. I haven’t run out yet. If I ever do run out, I’ll just pick up another $30 card and start my next month a couple of days early.

I’ll never understand the obsession people have with their cell phones.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I have a Net10 phone (Net – ten if that isn’t clear) that has next to no bells and whistles and which costs me ten cents per minute of talk time, or five cents per text message sent or received.

I don’t live on the phone like some do, but it’s handy to have and cheap insurance in case I do need it. These prepaid plans with zero contracts are definitely the way to go.

nicobanks's avatar

What’s “ordinary” vs. “extraordinary” is very relative.

Why does anyone pay for anything not work-related? Because they want it. Because it’s worth it to them: it satisfies their priorities, their desires.

Where does the bulk of your income go? What do you prioritize? You don’t have to answer this, I’m just trying to point out the relativity here. I bet I spend the bulk of my income on different things than you do.

knitfroggy's avatar

I got a BlackBerry a few months ago and really don’t know how I lived without it. I don’t mind paying for it. It’s worth it to me. I have fun messing with it. I pay about $70 a month for everything…unlimited data and text, free calls to any mobile phone. I have a certain number of anytime minutes but I never use them up.

I think if people are willing to pay the prices and are able, then, it’s alright. Just personal preference.

tinyfaery's avatar

Because I can.

bklynbberry25's avatar

I am a Blackberry Junkie and I cant live without it! For the convenience that it provides me with I do not mind paying the premium price for the service and the device. My Blackberry cost me 250 and the plan is around 100 a month for unlimited everything. I plan on traveling out of the country this year and to have a device that can go with me with out glitches is priceless to me. I would say it is a extravagance, but without it I would be lost! So I believe it comes down to if its worth the cost for the convenience?

Austinlad's avatar

Some people need phones for work and are reimbursed, or write off the cost. But most people pay the highspruce
because of something called
conspicuous consumerism. Other people have phones, I want one too. I remember when there were no cell phones and people seemed to do just fine using landlines.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I would love to have an iPhone, but the thought of paying $60–100 a month (or even more) for mobile internet and some cool apps seems absolutely ridiculous to me.

cookieman's avatar

I hated, hated, hated cell phones. I always chose the free phone and the least expensive plan.

Being an Apple geek, I was interested and let the first generation model pass me by.

Then, I finally caved in and bought one. Now, there is just no going back.

It really is one of those things where you say, “How the heck did I live without this?”

I do hate paying so much though. Ugh.

john65pennington's avatar

Its funny you just now asked this question. just yesterday, i called T-Moble and cancelled my internet connection to my cellphone. thats 24.95 a month i will be saving myself. why did i even have this service to begin with? before i retired, i wanted to keep up with the latest national and international news. i do not need this expese now. thanks for reminding everyone, “that in life, there are some things we just do not need”. sorry, T-Mobile.

lilikoi's avatar

It certainly has become a standard in our society. I just get the cheapest one then haggle, in a very developing country-esque manner, with them until they make it cheaper. I refuse to pay for the internet connection (even though it would be supremely fun and useful) because it is exorbitantly expensive. Some companies will pay for or subsidize phone expenses for their employees. That’s how a lot of people I know have crackberries.

jaketheripper's avatar

I got a droid and it is a reasonably expensive device. But when you break it down feature by feature it is definitely worth it. It works just as well as an ipod for music and video playing. Ipods are like 200–300 dollars. The droid works as a gps. A gps unit is at least $120 or so. It has a video camera of similar quality to the low end flip cameras which cost at least 100 dollars. And also it makes calls, texts and accesses the web. Ya it’s expensive but I think you actually do get alot of bang for your buck

Trillian's avatar

Uh there’s a word, can’t think of it….oh yeah. Pretension. I just finally had to break down and get a new phone. I narrowed it down to a Blackberry or a Nokia Surge. I decided to go with the Surge, as I don’t plan to launch a satellite any time soon. Then I saw that I would have to get a different package for data. To match the one I have now, it would cost 20 dollars a month more. Why? Because the Surge is a “smart phone”. So I went with the LG Neon. I dislike having to change and it will take me a month or two to figure everything out on the new model. But for lots of people, a phone is all kinds of extras that I don’t fool with, so I guess it may be other than pretension. For some.

Grisson's avatar

I can’t justify the data plan either. I still need my regular home network access to the internet, all a data phone would get me is the ability to do internet stuff from my car, which is probably dangerous anyway.
My solution: iPod touch. Does all the cool stuff an iPhone does as long as you’re near a wifi hotspot. ... except be a phone, of course,... then again there’s always ‘Skype’.

phil196662's avatar

I would love to have Internet on my cell but I can Justify the cost for the added data plant i would need so Email just can wait until I get home, the Important people can call me and speak to me if they Really need to reach me…

DominicX's avatar

Because they can afford it. Hopefully. People shouldn’t be paying for stuff like that if they can’t afford it. But most of the time, the people who do pay for it can and it’s not a big problem for them to pay for it. I have an iPhone 3G S, it has internet and all that. I use it all the time. It’s one of the most useful products I’ve ever had. It’s completely worth it to me.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I love computers and communication but I would not waste the kind of money people do on such things.

I do not care to keep up with those on a race to the top of the pile of the overextended.

casheroo's avatar

My husband and I just cannot justify spending money on such things. We have nice phones, but they aren’t crazy expensive..and we don’t need to have internet access 24/7.
So archaic, but we actually use 411 if we need to know a phone number for a business. (which is rare) I don’t see the appeal of the fancy gadgets. I keep my phone on me for emergencies and to keep in touch with my husband throughout the day…no need for internet or something that cost more than a car payment. lol

Strong's avatar

Status Devices make them feel good and important. Add Starbucks and you are fancy!

DominicX's avatar

I think it’s a ridiculous assumption that people only have internet-accessing phones because of “status”.

Some people are just more technologically-oriented and benefit more greatly from such devices. I couldn’t give a shit how people view my “status” based on the phone I have. Practically everyone I know has some kind of fancy phone, it doesn’t say anything to me about their “status”, nor would I ever makes assumptions about that kind of thing based on the phone they had.

Honestly, to assume someone has a certain phone because they’re trying to be “fancy” is just as bad as someone getting a phone because they think it will make them appear “fancy”.

janbb's avatar

Being able to check Fluther while on the road – Priceless!

ubersiren's avatar

@DominicX Just so everyone knows, I wasn’t the one who said anything about status. I just don’t want it to be assumed that I said that since it’s my question. Though, I assure you, for some, it absolutely is about status. Not all people, of course. I have, however, met a number of people who this is true for.

Just plain wanting one is a good enough excuse for me. To each his own. I just can’t fathom paying that much. I would have to be awfully well-to-do to hand over $100 more a month so I can have the internet and extras. That’s gouging in my book! If it was a $10 fee, then, I’d be more than happy to sign up, because I think it would totally be worth it, but I think companies are suckering people for the prices they charge.

Doesn’t it seem that today, people will just pay anything for the latest stuff and say “That’s just how it is!” Like $30 for a blue-ray movie…

@janbb GA!

stevenb's avatar

I use my iPhone for work, play, and everything in between. I have a 3gs. I also don’t give a hoot what anyone thinks about it. It works very well for me and that’s what matters to me.

I do think the price is a bit high, but I want it, and use the bejusus out of it. It keeps me on schedule, on time, and up to date with my clients, family, friends, work and play. I would hate to lose the connectivity I have since I got it. I have also gotten well over a dozen others infected with the iflu. I hope the cost will fall in the future, but I don’t know if it really matters to me. I will keep it because it is convenient for me. I use the heck out of every app I have on it.

philosopher's avatar

Some people must have the best of everything to feel good about themselves. They are usually Egotistical insecure people. The only things that make them feel good are material things and putting others down.
LOL I find it difficult not to laugh in their faces . They are truly insecure morons and they are every place.

DominicX's avatar


That reply is in itself extremely insecure and hypocritical.

If you were truly secure, you wouldn’t concern yourself with the business of others and what they have, which by the way, is none of your business. Not to mention make enormous assumptions about their personality, which you can know next to nothing about from that.

philosopher's avatar

Domincx you sound as secure as a three old.
I couldn’t care less what you think.
I am an Adult and you are obviously a Child.
I do not need flattery. Only insecure people do.
Grow up !!!
I am here for fun not to argue with a child like you. I will simply ignore you in the future.
I am an educated successful American women .
Your are an insecure Adolescent fool. Who enjoys fighting .
I concentrate on positive things.

DominicX's avatar


Well, you write like a child…

And since you can’t even defend what you say, I can assume you don’t know much about what you’re saying. Over the years I’ve come to realize the age number attached to you does not necessarily correlate with maturity or intelligence. :\

I am an educated successful American women.

Yes, you would need to assert that…

ubersiren's avatar

@philosopher : Yeesh, that sure was a judgy answer. :/

jaketheripper's avatar

Why does everyone act like somebody who pays a lot for a phone has something wrong with them? I have a nice phone but it has nothing to do with my status or filling a void in my life. That’s stupid to say so. If you had unlimited income you would undoubtedly buy yourself an awesome phone. They are sweet. They do all kinds of awesome stuff. Do we need another reason?

stevenb's avatar

I think people probably said the same thing when folks started driving them there “horseless carriages”. They were probably laughed at and mocked, but soon came to be the norm. The world changes. We can’t stop it, and it only shows fear and possible ignorance to judge others for embracing the change.

I am sure some people buy the newest stuff for status, but who really cares. It isn’t very nice to judge them for that. Let them be and live your life in a way that makes you happy.

Grisson's avatar

I agree amazinglingly enough with DominicX.

It has nothing to do with status. It has to do with whether the technology is worth the price to you or to whomever is paying for it.

For me it isn’t. However, if my employer decided that I needed a communication ‘leash’, Then it would be worth it for them to get me a smart phone and data plan so I can be pestered by e-mail no matter where I am.

I’m just grateful I’m not there yet.

ubersiren's avatar

I’m not laughing at people with fancy gadgets. I’m frustrated at the price gouging that the companies are doing with their goods and services. And people pay it, enabling the gouging to continue. We let the greedy get away with a lot. I was asking what the justification is, and I got some excellent answers. I’ll say it again- if it simply seems worth it to you, then that’s a good enough answer. I just personally find it unnecessary, but I realize I don’t have the same set of preferences and priorities as others.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@ubersiren, I don’t make some of the expensive choices that others make, either, but your characterization of the pricing schemes that companies use for their products is also naive. If a thing is worth X dollars to a consumer who is willing to pay that (and not forced to), and that price point provides Y profits to the company, and they’re willing to work (and provide goods and services) for that amount of profit, then why should they charge less? Do you think they should charge less to please you?

Actually, this argument applies to everything from CEO, athlete and movie star salaries to the price of lettuce and telephones.

ubersiren's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Yes, it does apply to much more than just mobile companies. In another comment above, I mentioned Blue-rays. I’m not sure why you think I’m naive about this. I’m not sure what you mean by charging less to please me… like, me personally? No. That’s not what I’m saying at all.

I do not feel that the service being provided matches the price companies are charging. My question is, why are people so willing to pay? When people will pay whatever is asked of them, the message to the company is that the sky is the limit on how much they can charge. Prices go up, and people will pay it. I have the option of being part of the racket, or not. I choose not. That’s all.

AshlynM's avatar

I don’t get it either. I’m a simple person and prefer simple things. I can live without a Blackberry, iPad and iPod Touch. The companies are mostly to blame with their fancy ads, commercials and lies. They brainwash and suck people into buying and believing that they must have these things.

All I need is a phone that can make and receive calls. I have my computer to use the internet and email. And I can live without texting, since that cost extra.

SABOTEUR's avatar

The answer is simple.

We like to be entertained.
There’s enough people willing to pay for their mobile entertainment to support a mobile industry.

I love my mobile entertainment.
But I rarely ever socialize and I’m never far from an internet connection, so it’s not worth it for me to pay for smart phone services.

My Net10 phone and my Ipod Touch serve me well.

partyrock's avatar

I have an iPhone. I don’t download apps or any fancy gadgets with it, but I do love my iPhone.

I used to have NO phone, a cheap phone for 30$, used payphones, etc., and I don’t know how I got by without my phone today.

I don’t like downloading apps though because I think it’s a waste of time.

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