Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/178809/5-terrible-cellular-carrier-practices-that-are-changing/
We’ve written about all the different ways cellular carriers are gouging you, from long, expensive contracts to $22,000 bills for roaming data. Believe it or not, some of these terrible practices are actually changing.
With subsized phones you also pay more over the life of the phone than if you buy the phone up front. It's just hidden in those very high monthly rates not all of which is legitimately paying for service.
Notice how the no contract monthly plans are cheaper? Or do people really think they are getting a $200-$600 piece of hardware absolutely free with no strings?
I had always been frustrated with cell phone contracts. There was even a time I kept my old phone out of contract for a couple of years and still paid full price. I did realize eventually that I wasn't getting my money's worth and so signed a new contract, this time with a data plan. Last year that contract ended and I again didn't want to get tied down to a new contract, neither did I want to pay the full price. So I decided to buy a nexus and got a gophone without a data plan. I have wi-fi at home and work, which are about 30 mins apart, and I can live without data for 30 mins. I've spent a total of $350 for the phone and $100 for the go phone over the year (still have a balance of $50 left out of the $100). I figure if I stick to the two year paradigm and my current usage, I will have spent a total of $550 over two years. Much cheaper than the cheapest plans where I have to sign the contract.
T-Mobile is definitely the best carrier in terms of not screwing over the customer (for the US). Their coverage isn't as comprehensive as Verizon's or AT&T's, but if you can deal with that, it's a big win.
I had no early termination bill since I just late paying and they cancelled me for free (my credit scores bad already) even though I pleaded with them to wait just 3 more day's until I got paid, (heartless bastards),
Now I use a pre-paid phone with all the bells and whistles for $50 which includes unlimited everything.
P.S. Seems my credit score isn't so bad I can't get another contract though I'd never do that again.
Reading of the trials and tribulations of US and Canadian cell-phone users ($10.000 roaming data bills...ouch!) and things getting better of late I realize that the gouging practises of carriers of, say, 10 years ago are soon a thing of the past here in Sweden as well.
Not being smart enough for a smartphone I do fine with a low-end dumbphone from Samsung which cost, unlocked, the equivalent of $30. I charge its cash-card once a month with the equivalent of $35 which gives me unlimited minutes and unlimited text messages.
That's reasonable I think, I can live with that. It hasn't always been like this though - in the past I have paid the price of a phone several times over when the only option was buying a 'subsidized' phone on a 2-year plan - with punitive early termination fees to boot.
Seems things can get better after all!
What I'd love to know is if there is any way for Canadian customers, on the cheapest tariffs (usually "text messages only", to avoid paying to RECEIVE calls and text messages.
I've got trouble accepting some of the other charges - the monthly requirement to load credit and the expiration of existing credit if that does not happen - but what I cannot accept (and is the reason I do not have a mobile phone here, after having lived in the UK) is being charged for receiving calls and texts.
When I was in the UK, you could get a phone and put a bit of credit on it for an emergency. Thereafter, for months at a time, you could leave the phone with that amount of credit and nothing would happen to it. No charges to receive anything. I didn't mind paying a bit more to make calls and send texts. That was the trade-off.
That's how I would like it to be in North America - Canada specifically.
Now, if I am willing to pay some kind of regular charge for the most basic service, is there some way to avoid being charged to receive calls and text messages or must I pay a higher amount per month (to receive that privilege)? Is there nothing that can be placed in an unlocked phone or nothing I can have on my phone, that would help?
It's shocking how bad cell / mobile phone provision is, here.
Thanks for reading.
Well, I can tell that we have it good here in Denmark then.
We don't pay tethering fees and we don't pay to receive phone calls or text messages. That's simply not something we pay for. Instead it's the caller or sender that pays.
When we buy a new phone, it may be subsidised and it may not. But when it is, it's anywhere from 1/5 to more than half. When we buy a phone on installment plans there is no interest.
A carrier can only bind you to them for 6 months if you buy a phone from them. Even if it's bought on 24 months installment. Then you just pay for the phone to them and for your calls to your new carrier. If you don't buy a phone from the carrier they can only bind you for one month. And carriers charge nothing to move you from one company to another and they do all the work.
For a long time we had "pay-pr-minute" and "pay-pr-text" type of deals in Denmark but with the emerge of web based apps on smartphones this has changed. Almost everybody is now on flat rate and 3 hours of talk + unlimited texts and mms' + 3 GB of data can be had for around 12$ pr. month. More costs more, but for less than 50$ pr. month you can have unlimited talk, unlimited texts/mms' and 500-1000 GB of data pr. month. Via your smartphone.
Oh, and the EU has restricted the prizing of roaming fees inside the EU, even for data, so that it's much, much, much cheaper now. Bills in the excess of say 1500$ will almost always be due to a grave error from the phone company and you will almost never be liable to pay this.
It's good to be a phone customer in Denmark...
Instead of punative ETF's, carriers are moving to a new "rent your phone" scheme that tacks an extra $10-20 a month on to your bill.
Instead of unlimited data, carriers are moving to unlimited voice plans and charging out the tailpipe for data. While Sprint still offers unlimited data, it's only on actual phones. There's no unlimited plan for tablets or hotspots. T-Mobile's unlimited data has throttling. AT&T and Verizon don't even have an unlimited data plan at all.
As to Verizon.... their least expensive plan for a smartphone is now $80 a month. That's just ridiculous. Even taking the $350 activation credit into account, it's cheaper to buy a new smartphone up front and activate it on a pre-paid plan. I'm not sure what people's motivation is for staying on contracts when it now costs more money than prepaid...
Actually in the UK things are much better. T-Mobile offers "Rolling Contracts", which means they are on a month to month basis, and you only have to give them 30 days notice when you want to cancel. Other providers in the UK are starting to copy this
I recently visited the UK and took one of those "Rolling Contracts", and gave them 30 days notice to cancel before I was leaving. One also doesnt have to buy a phone from them to take advantage of those "Rolling Contracts", but I did buy a cheap one from them, which cost me only $30!
Their service and the signal were brilliant too!
Thanks for the thread Chris
You can always go prepaid here in the US as well.
The catch is that you have to pay 100% of the phone price up front, and not all carriers will let you use "contract" phones on prepaid services. That's less of a problem with AT&T, but Verizon seems to be a stinker about that. (I'm considering letting my daughter use my old BIONIC on a prepaid basis when she goes on a trip this summer...)
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