Cell Phone Contracts Not In Your Best Interest
There is an interest thread going on over on Symbian-Guru related to why people are so unhappy with mobile phone service contracts. Basically because, if you actually do the math, you realize you are getting ripped off.
While I was waiting for my son the other day, I wandered into a Radio Shack to look around. A couple was in there trying to sign up for service. Can’t remember if it was Sprint or AT&T–doesn’t matter. But they were signing up for a two year service contract to get a couple of free phones. But I kept thinking: NO, DON’T DO IT, YOU’RE GETTING RIPPED OFF. Of course, I kept my mouth shut.
I recently “did the math” for my wife and realized that prepaid was cheaper. Maybe not in the short term, but certainly in the long run. Here’s what it cost me to get my wife set up with a year’s worth of service on T-Mobile prepaid: $300, complete with a new phone. That includes tax.
I found my wife a Nokia 6102i–brand new–in a AT&T GoPhone pack that I paid under $100 for. I “liberated” the phone from AT&T so my wife could use it with T-Mobile. This year I’ve bought my wife 2 100$ cards with T-Mobile. I bought the cards from CheapPhoneCards.com, which if you hunt around on the net, you can find coupon codes to knock the price down to about $93.
A comparable postpaid plan would cost, at minimum, $30 a month plus taxes and fees. Not to mention two years of servitude. About $840 over the lifetime of that contract, not to mention the cost of the phone, activation charges, etc. I could buy my wife a really nice phone and still come out ahead!
But I guess for people who are bad at math or can’t see past the “it’s a free phone” deal, contracts are a good thing. For those of us who can do the math and know the alternatives, they are to be avoided like the plague.
(Photo courtesy of Penny Matthews)