The PhoneBoy Blog


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Various Ways We Get Rogered In The U.S. On Mobile Phone Service

Ball and ChainI know I’ve been ragging a lot on the mobile industry lately. They make it so easy. Continuing in that vein, a reader commented on my Reality Check: Wireless Service In Indonesia post something I had forgotten about–we pay airtime to call an 800 number from our mobile phone!

With that in mind, here’s a succinct laundry list of ways we are taken advantage of here in the U.S. by our oligopoly of wireless carriers. Regular followers of my blog should find no surprises here:

  • We pay for incoming calls–true for most carriers/plans
  • We pay for incoming SMS–and don’t have a way to block them other than turn ALL SMS off
  • We pay to call toll-free numbers
  • If you go prepaid, data service is third world expensive–if you can get it at all
  • It took years just to get cross-carrier SMS to work, which is complicated by the fact we had to deal with GSM, CDMA, TDMA, and iDEN at various times. Cross-carrier MMS? Still not entirely cross-carrier.
  • We pay what I like to call made up fees for post-paid service. The carriers get regulatory “costs” from the government and break them out as line-item charges to consumers.
  • We pay dearly to get out of service contract, though the big carriers have started prorating early termination fees.
  • Pay per use SMS rates are up to $0.20, depending on carrier–sending and receiving.

I’m sure there are other ways we are getting the raw end of the deal–I mean other than the ways I’ve listed above. Feel free to let me know in the comments what I missed!


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.