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Cell Phone Plans: Paying More to Pay Less?

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On Tuesday, I received a text message from Verizon Wireless telling me that I was trending toward running out of minutes.

This came as a shock, because that meant that I had begun to approach my 450 minute allowance in a month’s time.  I don’t talk that much on the phone.  But I have talked a good bit to two of my closest friends, one in Florida and one in California, and I’ve talked more with my folks lately as well.  It’s amazing how much more you talk to people close to you when you actually have a phone that can get the call through!

By paying $20 more a month, I can save what would have been probably $25 or so in overage fees for this month, plus I get five “Friends and Family” numbers that will be excluded from my monthly minute allowance.

So let me think about this:  I go from 450 to 900 minutes, which would cover me for airtime between me and my parents and my friends Archie and Chip, the three people I talk to on the phone most — plus, I can put their numbers as “Friends and Family” numbers, which thereby eliminates the need for the additional minutes.

I can’t pay, say $5 or $10 more a month, to add just a “Friends and Family” option, apparently, which means that the only way to come out ahead is to pay for extra minutes I don’t need to get the feature that actually makes the extra minutes unnecessary.

So the phone company gets its way:  I’ll pay extra.  My “Friends and Family” members are more than worth it.

And meanwhile, I’ll chuckle yet again at the notion that having more options when it comes to things like cell phone providers somehow keeps prices down.

2 Comments

  • Tedatchley3 says:

    I think the two year contract, almost mandatory these days, is part of the tendons cell phone companiesact the way they do. They know you can't leave without big early termination fees. It might be why they fought so hard to keep a model where you buy the phone separate from the provider off the market. Most people accept the two year contract to get a reduced price on the hardware.

    • Patrick says:

      And have you noticed how big those early termination fees have gotten? It used to be something like $150-$200. It's now up to $300 or more to terminate a contract early.

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