What we’re willing to pay for cell phones & service

Looking at the plan prices for the iPhone 3G tonight, I am amazed at the costs we’re spending these days for the privilege of using a cell phone. Take the next-to-smallest voice plan (900 min for $59.99), add on the $30 iPhone data plan, and $5 for 200 text messages, and you’re up to $95 for your phone, plus tax.

This doesn’t count the cost of the phone, which, for smart phones, can cost $200 to $500. Even basic phones are usually at least $50 for a medium-caliber phone.

I remember my first cell plan, at 400 minutes for $19.99, eight years ago. That was before anyone in the U.S. knew how to text message. It took a while, but now the carriers have sold us the joy of texting and we have several serious addicts and text-based services like Twitter and Jott. We’ve also built up a healthy interest in wireless media downloads, ringtones, and mobile surfing.

Folks used to spend $25 a month for a home phone line, plus a few bucks for long distance. Today, we’re looking at family cell-data-and-messaging bundles for as much as $200. Some of us also still have home phones as well.

I overheard a woman outside at a concert the other day who simply declared “I don’t have a cell phone. It’s just another bill.” 

Another bill, indeed.


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