Many of you may have seen this chart called “The Ultimate Cell Phone Plans Comparison” from a website called BillShrink.com, being passed around the Internet. It neatly outlines the different cellular plans and pricing of these plans between the big four cellular carriers: Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
It is a wonderful, easy-to-read chart and I love it. In comparing this chart to Consumer Cellular’s no-contract plans, it’s blissfully clear how much money people can save with us. It’s apparent that many of the large carriers do not cater to anyone who simply needs a cell phone for casual use, which I classify as those who use less than 500 minutes each month.
According to the chart, the lowest-minute plan is 450 – 500 minutes for each of the four carriers. Each entry level plan is $39.99 a month. Conversely, a no-contract plan with Consumer Cellular for 500 minutes is $30. With a two-year contract on T-Mobile, you would be paying nearly $200 more over a lifetime than you ever should, as long as you don’t use more than 500 minutes a month.
Considering the actual uses of most cell phone users, it is surprising large cellular operators only offer plans that are worthwhile for the heaviest cellular users. Another study from the Utility Consumers’ Action Network surveyed 700 cell phone users in San Diego and found that the average ‘account’ is paying a whopping $3.02 a minute! How can this be?
The answer is many people choose plans that are too large for their usage, often because the lowest-minute plans offered by the major carriers are still too much for their respective needs. Too many minutes are left unused, driving up the cost per minute of the few that actually are-a gravy train for big carriers.
No one wants to pay $3 a minute and I sure wouldn’t want you to, either. So make sure your usage matches up with your needs. And if you find a plan the offers you the lowest cost per minute available, the more power to you.