How much is your mobile phone really costing you?

Yup. My primary use is as a phone. The secondary use is as a camera. I do like the wifi hotspot feature - I’ll tether my iPad if I want to do some browsing when I’m on the road.

Pretty much this. My cell phone costs me about $80 bucks a month, and I use it as much for office productivity (VOIP and video conferencing, VPN, email, calendar, GPS, reference and lookup device and myriad other tings) as I do the actual phone part. And it’s worth the money, for me. Perhaps when WiFi is ubiquitous it might be different, but until then the cost of not having the things I need is a lot more than the price for cellular data.

It’s also worth pointing out that you can accomplish almost all of this with a phone that’s 10% of the price. That’s not a jab at Bear_Nenno since there’s obvious difference between a $1,300 flagship phone and a $130 off-brand Android model but both will still allow you to access social media, watch movies, stream music, GPS functions, etc.

Isn’t that the case for virtually all consumer electronics? Most of the stuff we’re using these days didn’t exist fifty years ago (or in some cases, 20 years ago) but we got along. That doesn’t mean they don’t offer significant quality of life enhancements though.

I pay less than $40 a month, plus about $150 up front in assorted costs (the phone itself, pre-paying the first month, and so on) for a smartphone. Yes, it’s a very low-end one, but it still does everything that I would want it to do, plus many other things that I don’t care about, and my data is so much greater than my typical usage that the limits are effectively irrelevant.

Yes, of course they tried to upsell me, with a fancier phone and a bigger data plan and a service plan and so on. And I told them “no, thank you, just the basics”.

I probably could get a dumbphone for cheaper, but not much cheaper. In fact, when I switched from my previous dumbphone to this one, my bill actually went down (mostly because I haven’t been aggressively re-negotiating my deal from what it was when I first got a cell phone).

So far as I can tell, the primary reason to have a dumbphone nowadays isn’t the cost, but because you actively prefer to not have the greater complication of a smartphone. Which is fine, if that’s your choice. But the price isn’t a barrier. Heck, thirty years ago when nobody had smart phones, even the most basic phone plan cost more than what my smartphone costs me, and everyone still paid for it.

Wife and I pay $100 total for unlimited talk & text, and “unlimited” data (20 GB each, which we never cap). Phones were purchased outside our provider, I am a big fan of the Motorola Moto G, which cost us $200 each.

Through TracFone, I have a phone that’s small and technically smart, but not very smart. The phone was free. It wouldn’t work for everyone, but it has everything I need and nothing I don’t. It’s nice to have in case of emergency, and I do use the GPS while driving or hiking. I use it only occasionally for texts and short phone calls, rarely for e-mail, and never for streaming video (though technically I could).

I used to do the scratch-off card thing for $80 or 100 per year, which came with a modest amount of talk time, text messages, and wireless data. Because I hardly ever use them, I built up a huge reserve of talk minutes and texts over the years. Now I renew online for I think $60 per year (which comes with no additional minutes, texts, or data) and buy more wireless data as I need it ($10 or 20 per year). If I ever run out of texts or minutes, I can buy those separately for a modest fee. It’s likely to be years before I need to worry about that.

So would you call it a clever phone then?:slight_smile: That is what I called the phone I had from Virgin Mobile which worked well.

Now both my wife and I have smart phones that we bought online and pay around $40 a month for service for both of us. We use Ting which has a pay what you use model, so if you don’t use texts in a month, you don’t pay for them, same thing for voice and data. So far it has worked for us, and as I know we will be traveling overseas when we will not be using them, the cost then will go down during that period.


What’s to be baffled by? It’s the free market. People will pay it, so they continue to charge it.

I go for the high end phones as I use mine as a gaming device and it needs to be able to keep up if I’m going to enjoy myself. About $600 for the phone itself, then I’m on a family plan where my cost breaks down into $20 a month and I get approximately 1 GB a month out of the pool to use along with unlimited talk and text. It’s a good deal for me. After about 4 years of use the phone is finally starting to lag behind on some stuff, and it will not receive any more official updates, so I might try rooting it and putting on custom firmware to speed it up. If that doesn’t get it to pick up the pace I’ll buy a new one. For the record, $600 over 4 years is $150 a year or $12.50 a month so really I consider it money well spent in order to get an extremely good experience for the first two years, and an average experience for the rest.

Before I was on a family plan, where the best deals undoubtedly are, I previously had a single line with another carrier for $35 a month that had unlimited data and text, but 100 minutes of calling. I don’t call, so it was a good deal for me. And not having to care about WiFi so much was a bonus.

Another UK user here on PAYG with a Google Nexus 5. One shiny pound per week gets me 500 MB data, 35 minutes talk, and 75 texts. Free wi-fi is pretty widely available, I can’t remember the last time I ran out of data. I make about 2 calls and 20 texts per year.

Well, we have a free market too and seemingly pay only a fraction for the same services. But anyway, I’ve thought about it a bit and I think a major reason for that are infrastructural costs which are obviously much higher in the US than in densely populated countries like Germany or the UK.

I have Vzw pay as you go plan it’s about $45 a month. I get 5gb data with that, which is plenty since I’m nearly always using my phone on a wifi network instead of cellular. (I’m surrounded by wifi, here). Phone is an iPhone SE. I got it on sale for half off last Christmas - $100. It is a thing of beauty and I use it constantly.

For technology that surpasses what sci-fi writers could only dream of, in the year that I was born, I consider that price basically miraculous.

Mod Hat On
The discussion here isn’t smartphones vs “stupidphones” but cell phones in general. Let’s not hijack this thread into a debate regarding which type of phone is better.

Then you’ll want this one for a replacement. (I’d like to have it because I’d like a phone with 512GB built-in.)

I’m in the US and the thing to be baffled by is that people will pay it. This thread is full of people using cheap plans, but the vast majority seem fine with paying $100 and up a month when they don’t need to. I have lots of friends and relatives that pay a premium for unlimited day who, when I show them how to check their usage, never come close to their carriers most limited plans; they shrug and keep paying, though.

US consumers have a sort of “cost complacency.” It reminds me of the old sci-fi stories I used to read where the hero would find an alien society doing something nonsensical and when questioned everyone simply says “It’s what we’ve always done.” A visitor here would point to cell phones and ATM fees.

My wife and have both bought flagship smartphones, but apart from that initial outlay we pay $82/month altogether for unlimited data, text, and talk. We also have generous mobile hotspot privileges, although there is a cap on that.

It definitely pays to shop around, because some carriers charge you about the same monthly amount even if you buy orcm bring your phone up front.
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So, I won’t give up use of the Verizon network, because it gives me the best coverage for my purposes. I have no contract, phone bought separately. What’s the best way to get it cheaper, given that I use modest amounts of data (less than 1GB)?

I´ll never again get a contract deal that includes the phone. I can buy a very nice smartphone outright for a couple of hundred (if I go for a brand not so many people have heard of, like Doogee, Ulefone or Elephone) and I can get a sim-only deal for less than a tenner a month, which has a generous data allowance and unlimited calls and texts.

Look up Verizon MVNOs. They resell Verizon service for usually much cheaper than Verizon.

I’m on Puppy Wireless with a Verizon Note 4 I bought on eBay. Unlimited talk and text and 2GB of data for $26 per month.

Never heard of these companies but I’m really liking what I see about the Ulefones. Modern smartphones have a pathetic battery life and I’d love to trade thinness for a bigger battery. This one has a 13000mHa battery and is chock-full of features for 239 bucks!