Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1.    #1  
    Hi all,

    As always, let the buyer beware!

    take care,

    Jay

    Beware the smart phone data plan con
    When it comes to buying smart phones, the true cost can be a mystery

    Beware the smart phone data plan con - Technology & science - Tech and gadgets - Back to School - msnbc.com

    A customer tries out the newly released Sprint HTC EVO 4G phone at a Sprint store in San Jose, Calif., last June. Because of steep data costs, it's important to look beyond the sticker price, and calculate the total two-year cost of ownership when buying any smart phone.

    By Wilson Rothman
    msnbc.com, updated 8/26/2010 12:10:34 PM ET -

    Right this moment, if new customers buy a Palm Pre from Verizon Wireless, it costs $50, provided they swear to a two-year contract (and accept the penalty for breaking it). Sprint is charging $150 for its Palm Pre. So, which one costs more?

    If you said Verizon's, you're right by nearly $400. Both Sprint and Verizon charge $40 per month for 450 prime-time talk minutes, and both charge $30 per month for unlimited smart phone data. But Sprint includes text messages with that, and Verizon charges an extra $20 for unlimited texts, a requirement for all teens and twentysomethings.

    Two years from now, that $20 difference costs you $480. Even though Verizon buyers "save" $100 up front, they pay for it, and then some, as the months go by.

    "Cheap" phones like Microsoft's teen-targeted Kin have been shot down by customers for incredibly high data plans. Meanwhile, many American parents have no qualms about buying their kids a $199 iPod Touch, even though they still need to also buy them phones and unlimited texting plans. It's not about the cash-register cost, it's about the monthly bill.

    So, how much will your smart phone cost? Forget that number between $0 and $299 that you pay up front. The number you should focus on is the total cost of ownership, which for smart phones is usually around $2,000. (Regular "dumb" phones with unlimited text messages generally cost half that over the same period.)

    While it may seem obvious that the true cost of your phone is its sticker price plus service, you may not realize how much you can save by sitting down and calculating it out or what a mistake you might make by falling for a carrier suddenly dropping the advertised price of a phone.

    Fortunately for you, we've done the math. The following are price breakdowns for smart phone data plans for each carrier. What you need to do is add that 2-year grand total to the price of the phone you're shopping for that's the true cost.

    (Note: Though they're all subject to change, these prices should be good for the rest of the summer, through the back-to-school shopping period.)

    AT&T
    The iPhone carrier recently killed off its unlimited data plan, creating two less expensive plans to use in its place. This is good news for the extreme majority of AT&T's smart phone customers, though it did make some nerds antsy.

    Smart phone data plan: $15/month for up to 200MB of data; $25/month for up to 2GB of data
    Unlimited text message plan: $20
    Data + text messages after 24 months: $840 for low data plan; $1,080 for higher data plan
    2-year grand total (including 450 minutes of voice): $1,800 or $2,040 (see above)

    Early termination fee: $325 minus $10 for every month on the plan; no charge after contract is up

    Special caveats: If you go over the 200MB on the low data plan, you have to pay double, so it's $30. People afraid of going over may select the 2GB plan. iPhone and Android users can download an AT&T app to precisely track how much data they use. Along with Verizon, AT&T charges higher early termination fees for smart phones, meant to recoup some of the higher subsidies granted to smart phone buyers.

    Sprint
    Sprint has been competing aggressively, not only by introducing the Evo, a large-screen phone on an extra-fast 4G wireless network, but by throwing in free unlimited text messages with all smart phone data plans.

    Smart phone data plan: $30/month
    Unlimited text message plan: $0 (it's included in the smart phone plan)
    Data + text messages after 24 months: $720
    2-year grand total (including 450 minutes of voice): $1,680

    Early termination fee: $200 minus $10 for every month on the plan

    Special caveats: Phones that access Sprint's 4G network require $10 extra per month for the increased data speeds.

    T-Mobile
    Traditionally, T-Mobile has priced itself lower than the rest, to appeal to a younger audience. They currently offer a way to buy phones without signing a contract, paying more up front, but with a lower monthly fee and no early termination fee.

    Smart phone data plan: $30/month
    Unlimited text message plan: $10/month
    Data + text messages after 24 months: $960
    2-year grand total (including 450 minutes of voice): $1,920 or $1,680 (no contract)

    Early termination fee: $200 minus $10 for every month on the plan, unless you opt for a no-contract plan

    Special caveats: Although the no-contract option doesn't affect smart phone data prices, it does bring the voice plan part of the bill down, by $20 per month. This could be a good move if you inherit a phone from someone.

    T-Mobile also only charges $20 for unlimited text for all phones on a family plan a great deal if you have several phones on the same bill.

    Verizon Wireless
    Verizon loves to bank on the quality of the network, and that means as long as its reputation is intact, its monthly rates will remain fairly high. Since its Droid phone line has started to lure former iPhone customers away from AT&T, the carrier may get more aggressive with pricing, but to date, it's pretty unyielding.

    Smart phone data plan: $30/month
    Unlimited text message plan: $20/month
    Data + text messages after 24 months: $1,200
    2-year grand total (including 450 minutes of voice): $2,160

    Early termination fee: $350 minus $10 for every month on the plan; no charge after contract is up

    Special caveats: Like AT&T, Verizon has a higher early termination fee for smart phones. Funny thing: Verizon is the only major U.S. carrier to say "unlimited" and mean "unlimited" when it comes to smart phone data usage. AT&T sells two plans for particular data amounts if you go over, you pay more. T-Mobile and Sprint reserve the right to discontinue service if you use over 5GB during a month. Verizon may change their policy I wouldn't be surprised but for now, it really is unlimited.

    Catch up with Wilson on Twitter at @wjrothman. He may be the only person in the world who won't get bored hearing you go on and on about your stupid wireless plan.

    2010 msnbc.com Reprints
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    im with verizon, and ive always wondered if the grass is greener on the other side...
    verizon pre 2 - 2.0, stock
    verizon pre plus - 1.4.5 various patches OC'd 1Ghz.
    verizon pixi plus - various patches, OC'd 800 mhz.
    verizon pixi plus - chillin in my sock drawer
  3. #3  
    great read. I was with verizon for 7 years and am far happier with sprint, both with service and price.
  4. #4  
    I kindly advise you to tone down your signature a bit. You have a valid point of course, but people don't read ALLCAPS. That's why end-user license agreements are in ALLCAPS. So no one reads them and knows in advance he has no rights whatsoever.

    Please support research into Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and spinal injuries. If you suffer from these, consider joining or better yet forming a support group. No one should suffer from the burden of chronic pain.
  5. pawdog's Avatar
    Posts
    79 Posts
    Global Posts
    105 Global Posts
    #5  
    Doesn't matter to me what Sprint costs. They have no coverage in my area. Nor does AT&T, nor T-Mobile. I pay them extra because they invested in providing me coverage. Good thing I'm not a teen or twenty something. Verizon's $10.00 250 texts a month are about 200 more than I have ever used.

    I get the point of the article though. If I ever move to a big city I will be the wiser for reading it.
  6. #6  
    he missed the part where verizon cut the cost of their data plans at the beginning of the year. My monthly cost went down about $30 when I moved from my treo to the pre. And I have unlimited everything. More expensive than sprint, but cheaper than it was even though I went from tethering spead of under 100kbps to 3g speed via free mobile hotspot.

    works for me!
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by GuyFromNam View Post
    I kindly advise you to tone down your signature a bit. You have a valid point of course, but people don't read ALLCAPS. That's why end-user license agreements are in ALLCAPS. So no one reads them and knows in advance he has no rights whatsoever.

    Please support research into Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and spinal injuries. If you suffer from these, consider joining or better yet forming a support group. No one should suffer from the burden of chronic pain.
    Thank you, I will try to get to it shortly.....I am sore care giver for my 87 year old Mom who had a stroke and heart attack! Take care,

    Jay
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  8. #8  
    Great article.

    I'm on T-Mobile, here in the US.

    I can attest to the pricing above, and, we do pay the least amount of all the carriers, and in NY (where I live and work) and other major US cities (where I travel for work), Ive always had exceptional coverage.

    We have a family plan, which provides 2 unlimited lines with everything (voice, internet and text) for $60, each, and after that, 2 other lines with unlimited voice and text for $30/month. I can add unlimited internet to the other two for $30/month, each. I can also add as many $30/month unlimited voice/text lines to my account as I wish.

    The pricing is excellent, however, taxes and surcharges are ridiculous, as all of us US cell phone customers know.. they come to more than 25% of the actual cell phone carrier's bill, which is disheartening, to say the least. My $180 Tmobile bill turns into a $250 monthly charge, unfortunately, all of those federal and local surcharges really add up!

    One down side of T-Mobile for any Pre+/Piix+ owners is that 3G wont work on the only GSM WebOS phone available: the AT&T Pre+/Pixi+. And I had to spend $20 to unlock the phone.

    EVDO works, but, Im finding that when I mostly need the interent, Im in an airport, hotel or at home and away from my computer, where free wifi is easily available, so, the drawback to the lack of 3G is somewhat minimal for me, but, it certainly does come up every now and then.



    PS - T-Mobile's "unlimited" currently has no cap, and if they do institute one, Im grandfathered in!
    Last edited by LCGuy; 08/27/2010 at 09:23 AM.
    "The more I learn, the more I realize just how little I really do know!" -Albert Einstein

  9. #9  
    As I understand it, phone data is really unlimited on Sprint (I've gone over 5GB with no problems) except in certain cases. Here's a copypasta from Sprint's Terms & Conditions:

    Data:Services are not available with all Sprint phones. Usage is calculated on a per kilobyte basis and is rounded up to the next whole kilobyte. Rounding occurs at the end of each session or each clock hour and, at which time we deduct accumulated usage from your plan, or assess overage or casual usage charges. You are responsible for all data activity from and to your device, regardless of who initiates the activity. Estimates of data usage will vary from actual use. Your invoice will not separately identify the number of kilobytes attributable to your use of specific sites, sessions or services used. Premium content (games, ringers, songs, etc.) priced separately. Services are not available for use in connection with server devices or host computer applications, other systems that drive continuous heavy traffic or data sessions, or as substitutes for private lines or frame relay connections. Except with Phone-as-Modem plans, you may not use a phone (including a Bluetooth phone) as a modem in connection with a computer, PDA, or similar device. We reserve the right to deny or terminate service without notice for any misuse or any use that adversely affects network performance. Availability of downloadable or streaming content is subject to change, including but not limited to television channels and radio stations. If user is not subscribed to a data included plan or add-on, pay-as-you go charges are incurred when using data applications and services.

    Data Usage Limitation (Mobile Broadband Cards, USB Modems, Embedded Modems and Phone-As-Modem):The amount of data transmitted over our network is measured in kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). Sprint reserves the right to limit throughput speeds or amount of data transferred; and to deny, terminate, modify, disconnect or suspend service if usage either exceeds (a.) 5GB/month in total, unless specified otherwise or (b.) 300MB/month while off-network roaming. 1024KB equal 1MB. 1024MB equal 1GB.
    Long Time Palm and Sprint User!

    IIIxe, Tungsten T3, Samsung SPH-i500, Treo 700p, 755p, Centro, Palm Pre, Palm Pre+, 2.2.4 Franken Pre2 and a Touchpad!
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by bradenfontaine View Post
    im with verizon, and ive always wondered if the grass is greener on the other side...
    Grass is GREENER on the other side, it is reception that is a problem

Posting Permissions