Once you travel outside the United States, you quickly realize that you are being ripped off by US cell phone companies at massive scale. It’s nothing short of scam. Really!
You can spend 10-20 bucks in EU (or something similar in any other country) and you got yourself a number, decent amount of talk, text and data for a month. For example, I spent 15 EUROS in Italy and I got 3GB data, good amount of talk/text with it and I never really had to be conscious about my usage. Good luck finding similar plan in US of A! You need at least $100 for something similar!
I get so frustrated every time I look at my cell phone bill and/or want to purchase additional services. Here is some of my rants…
Things that I hate about US cell phone companies…
- Crazy amount of total cost of service: A decent size household need to shell out at least $100 for a basic service! Nobody in the world pays this much. Most of the countries cost you equivalent to less than $30-40!
- Charging for incoming calls and text: Nowhere you will see charges for incoming calls. You have no control over who can call you so how does it make sense to charge for those calls when you are very well charging for the person who is calling you? Isn’t it double dipping when you charge the caller and callee?
- Insane amount of charges for text messages: Anybody who knows technology can clearly tell you that it cost almost nothing for text message transmission yet our cell phone companies think it’s ok to charge you $0.20 per text incoming or outgoing. So if you text somebody and they respond, both are charged $0.40 each. There should be a law against charging high for text messages.
- No easy or cheap plans for Text messaging: Recently I contacted AT&T asking for a cheap Text messaging plan for light usage. You know what are my options? Either $20(individual plan) or $30 (family plan). WTF? Really?
- $20 for 300MB data: Any idea how much it costs for a cell phone company to transmit 300MB data? I’d bet that it’s less than $1. Do your own math for the profit margin here. Grrrr…
- No option to use your own device the way you want: For example, you have an old iPhone that you want to hand it to your kid and get just talk/text plan. AT&T mandates that you purchase data plan and shell out at least $20 even if you have no plans to use the data on that device that you outright own! Basically, AT&T don’t allow you to use your device as Wi-Fi only. WTF?
- If you are on contract and paying full monthly charge, you can’t unlock the phone to be used outside USA: Can somebody explain why AT&T has to lock my device during the contract period and not allow me to use outside of USA even though I am paying and obligated for whole 2 years? It’s not like if they unlock me I’d not have to pay my monthly bill. So why do they block me from unlocking it?
- Pay for shortcomings of carrier: If you have poor signal, cell phone companies want you to pay for extra equipment to boost the signal at your location where their own signal is bad! Basically, you pay for their bad service and pay more for them to improve their own bad service!
- Takes absolutely no responsibilities for their bad service: Have you even seen a cell phone company giving you credit for call drops? Exuberant amount of charges if you go over but no pay back for their short comings!
- Rules against unlocking and tethering: Why the hell it is legal to control how your use your device that paid for or paying for? That’s like you buy a car and pay for it and dealer still has full control on how you drive that car!
- Do you need more than above to be convinced that US cell phone companies are ripping you off and nobody can do anything about it? ;)
Over all, this reminds me of the time when Blockbuster would charge you almost $5 for a movies and add hefty fine for not rewinding the tape. See where is Blockbuster now! It’s only matter of time somebody comes up with a new innovation and knock out the companies that bully customers! I am anxiously waiting for that day to come for cell phone services…hope that days comes up soon. :)
P.S Feel free to convince me that I am wrong and all of us deserve this kind of treatment from cell phone providers.