Note: These prices are for an android smart phone.
In the UK, I currently pay £10/mo (approx. $15.50) for all the minutes, text, & data I need. I don’t have a contract, can just not top up when I don’t have the money, and they’re no overage charges (it just won’t let me make a call if I don’t have money on it).
In India, I paid about 800 rupees (approx. $15.80) a month for minutes, text, & data.
Of those 800 rupees, the data was 99 rupees for 1 month – that’s enough data to leave my data connected all the time, check my email regularly throughout the day, etc, for a whole month… and it cost me less than two dollars. This included a few international calls, which I don’t make on my UK phone (without the calls to the US, it was closer to 300 rupees, or $5.95 a month). Same deal – I don’t have a contract, no overage charges, etc. I also had service everywhere.
In the United States, to get a basic phone and text contract with Verizon it would be $39.99. But, because I have a smart phone, I would have to pay an additional $30.00 a month for data. Plus taxes and fees, we’re talking over $70.00 a month.
Furthermore, because I already own an unlocked phone (allowing me to just pop a SIM card in whatever country I’m in), I cannot actually use Verizon.
My options are limited pretty much to TMobile (which charges an additional fee to not use their phone, or at least did when I researched it earlier, doesn’t offer data on their pay as you go, but you could get a 10¢/minute package for $100 and it was good for up to a year), Companies That Market To People Who Don’t Speak English, and Walmart Family Mobile.
What I ended up doing when I was in the US, was going with Walmart Family Mobile, who uses the TMobile service anyway. It was $25 to get it started, plus about $54/month after taxes and fees. And it was just text and phone, because I never got their data to work – though they do have data, and I suspect it was mostly my phone that was the issue.
So let’s do some math here…
|India||United Kingdom||US – Verizon Basic Contract||US – Family Mobile|
|For 1 Year||$189.60||$186.00||$840.00||$673.00*|
* Includes $25 set up fee.
Dear People in the U.S.:
You are getting royally screwed by cell phone companies.
They provide worse service, coverage, and product than India or the United Kingdom. They force you to buy data plans you do not need even if you just want to use the wifi on your phone. They up the data plans so you get a supersized data plan even though you don’t need a data plan that large so they can make more money off of you. And, when you pay money for your phone, that phone can only be used on the company you have a contract with – you can’t bring it over to another company. Not to mention that if your company is providing very poor service, you’re stuck with them for two years. You do not have a leg to stand on, as a customer. You can’t speak with your wallet by going somewhere else, so cell phone companies have no real incentive to a.) provide decent service b.) keep their prices down.
And they’re getting away with it because you’re letting them. Because you continue to renew your contract because you think you’re saving money on a contract. You’re not.
If I lived in the UK for four years, I would still pay less in those four years combined than what you pay for just one year.
Just thought I’d share that bit of cheerfulness. Think on that before you sign a contract in the US. Not that our current structure allows you to have any other options. They got you pretty good, didn’t they?