Dec 3, US smartphone users pay $50/mo more on average for their cell phone bill than UK consumers. The typical UK smartphone user pays just $
Table of contents
- The sneaky reason your cell phone bill is so high — it’s not always your wireless provider’s fault
- Best Low-Cost Cell-Phone Plans - Consumer Reports
- Best Low-Cost Cell-Phone Plans
- Best Unlimited Individual Plan
The sneaky reason your cell phone bill is so high — it’s not always your wireless provider’s fault
Multiple states increased this fee in , while only Connecticut lowered it. Another commonly charged fee provides financial resources for universal service funds. These funds exist at the federal and state level and are used to subsidize telecommunications services for schools, libraries, hospitals, low-income people, and rural telephone companies operating in high-cost areas.
The federal rate is set by the FCC each quarter, while state governments set the state rates. Additionally, local governments in 12 states assess some sort of tax or fee on wireless service beyond the local sales tax. These taxes and fees take various forms and were designed to replace the lost revenue as consumers shifted from traditional phone services to wireless communications.
Florida and Illinois in particular have special state communications taxes that allow local governments to impose add-on taxes that can increase the rates in many cases to two times higher than the general sales tax rates. Of course, not all taxes and fees are government-related. The company said the fee was a standard charge carriers use to cover costs like cell site maintenance.
You can enjoy full access to Barron's coverage on MarketWatch with a Barron's subscription. Already a Barron's subscriber? You're not imagining your wireless bill sticker shock. A report commissioned in by the Canadian Radio-Television and Communications Commission CRTC ranked the US within the top three most expensive mobile markets in a group of eight major developed countries. While these unethical billing practices appear to have been stopped it's still a good idea to comb your bill in detail. MVNOs - or Mobile Virtual Network Operators - are the perfect solution for American consumers who are looking for reliable, budget-friendly phone plans.
MVNOs can afford to give you cheaper rates because they don't have the high overhead and marketing expenses like the big guys do. The fact that you're staying on the same infrastructure as the major providers use means no sacrificing network coverage or call quality.
On top of all of those advantages of MVNOs you get similar features as you'd get with any carrier. Choose options like:. While customers in the UK have enjoyed these benefits and much lower cell phone rates for years, Americans are now starting to realize how much better a value MVNOs are. How much can you save by choosing an alternative carrier?
- How you could save hundreds of dollars on your cell phone bill.
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Use our cell phone savings calculator to find out. One of the best things about choosing a smaller carrier is that you can save a ton of money by opting for a used device instead of expensive phone payments. Buying a refurbished smartphone that's one year older than the newest model can save you literally hundreds of dollars. You can then take that unlocked phone to any carrier you wish, without the burden of monthly installment payments. Learn everything you need to know about buying a used phone , including the difference between refurbished and used and what to look for in a reputable seller.
Plus you can compare prices on popular models like iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S series in seconds. Don't forget that you can also sell your phone for cash to put toward another one. Even better, you'll get more money selling your phone for cash than you do when you trade in with your carrier for an upgrade. To get started on saving, check out cell phone savings calculator. You also get data security services from Lookout, your mobile hot spot allowance gets doubled to GB, and you get unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico.
Best Low-Cost Cell-Phone Plans - Consumer Reports
Heavy data users, beware: Like its competitors, Sprint reserves the right to cut your speeds when data demand is high, regardless of what tier of service you shell out for. In this case, that applies to customers who use more than 50GB per month—which, admittedly, is a lot of data. T-Mobile does not let you share data.
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You must purchase it separately for each phone in your household. Like the pricier plans, T-Mobile Essentials includes unlimited talk, text, and data. Another important detail to note when crunching the numbers: In the T-Mobile One plans, the taxes and fees are included; in the lower-priced Essentials plans, they are not.
So what are you missing out on if you sign up for Essentials?
Best Low-Cost Cell-Phone Plans
Well, for one thing, Netflix. It's usually included in T-Mobile One plans that have at least two lines. Essentials customers also fall to the bottom of the priority list for data speeds during heavy traffic times. And Essentials customers who use more than 50GB per month may see their speeds dip even further. For T-Mobile One customers, the company will throttle your data speeds only if you go over that 50GB-per-month threshold.
Travel outside the country much?
Best Unlimited Individual Plan
Essentials customers get unlimited talk, text, and 2G data in Mexico and Canada. Texting is unlimited in more than destinations around the world. In addition to unlimited texting in those plus destinations, T-Mobile One also includes unlimited 2G data use. And, just a heads-up. Under both plans, video typically streams at DVD quality. Want more? Last year, Verizon updated its offers to add a third set of pricing for its unlimited data plans. And the company reserves the right to slow your data speeds any time the network gets busy.
After that, your speeds are capped at Kbps. And Verizon promises not to throttle your data speeds until you use 22GB of data during a given month. And though talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada are included in all three unlimited plans, Above Unlimited also gives you five Verizon TravelPasses per month. But as mentioned above, T-Mobile includes unlimited texting and data calls cost extra in more than destinations as part of its T-Mobile One plans. Interested in a premium plan for yourself but maybe not for your kids?
No problem. Verizon will let you mix and match pricing options within one family plan. And Verizon still sells plans with shared bundles of gigabytes. We've priced those out in the table below, as well.
I write about all things "cyber" and your right to privacy. What I enjoy: I've lived in the Bronx for more than a decade, but as a proud Michigan native, I will always be a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan no matter how much my family and I get harassed at Yankee Stadium. Follow me on Twitter BreeJFowler. Become a Member. Sign In.