Are Cell Phone Plans Pricing Out Families? – With how far technology has come, and because they’ve been around for so many years… I’m still surprised by how expensive cell phones and cell phone plans are today for families.
Are Cell Phone Plans Pricing Out Families?
I remember getting my first cell phone in 1990. It was an archaic version with a coiled cord attached to an overly large box that was close to the size of a VCR that the cell phone hung up into. The battery pack weighed about 3 pounds and was the size of a slim brick.
The cell phone plans back then were more heavily in line with emergency use vs. monthly minutes. I recall that I paid per minute and per call. Basically, if I dialed a number (and even if nobody picked up), I was charged 8 cents. Then I was charged a minute rate. Those fees in addition to the monthly cell phone plan fee yielded a monthly bill of about $24. Sure, I was far from the freedoms of unlimited use and texting was unheard of, but it was an affordable option for a college student looking to have some safety while commuting to and from a night class.
It’s now 26 years later and a lot has changed as far as the phones and technology are concerned. I would bet there are cheaper ways to manufacture the phones – God knows that the newer the phone, the shorter the life. I had phones that never broke down and the batteries never wore out. Then, along comes the “smart” cell phone and I’ve had more issues with these and their battery life than any other phone I’ve owned. Plus, I’d say it’s safe to say there are several more towers already built and coverage is well taken care of.
So, why such the high costs for owning and operating a cell phone today? Are Cell Phone Plans Pricing Out Families?
My husband and I have a plan together for unlimited minutes, data and text which costs us $140/month. And, we paid almost $500 for our two phones when you consider phones, upgrade fees and activation costs. We’d like to add our soon-to-be middle schooler to the plan with a basic phone for calling and text only, but that would be another $30/month! My old home landline phone bill is nowhere near this and I’ve got as many minutes (local and long distance) on my plan as my fingers can dial. Plus, I don’t get charged by the number of phone jacks/phones in my home. I can have as many as I want. (Maybe cell phone companies should offer a one number/multiple handset plan).
Sure, I understand the convenience of having a cell phone and being able to call from anywhere, text as I need to, and hop online. But, wouldn’t it be nice if the cell phones followed the same pattern as land lines and one day be lower in costs to the consumer? If so, how long will it take?
Unfortunately, I think the cell phone companies have us over a barrel here… The landlines are dropping off in price because of the lack of demand as many opt for cell phones and sometimes no landline. I can’t say I see cell phones becoming obsolete any time soon. And, the cell phone companies know it – we’ll pay just about anything to have these devices close at hand – especially when it comes to children being safe and being able to communicate with parents as to their whereabouts. Yes, we’re addicted. And, cell phone companies have enough customers paying them, so there’s no need to make any changes.
So the big question remains… will cell phone companies cut back on their fees in a competitive battle, or will we have to continue to find a way to fund this high cost convenience we’ve become so dependent on, even if it means trimming the budget elsewhere? Are Cell Phone Plans Pricing Out Families?