Why are mobile data plans so expensive?

So I’ve been seeing Verizon’s ads for the Q.  They enthusiastically say, “Get the Motorola Q today for the value price of $79.99″.

Yeah…mmmhmm.  Then you go to the store to get your beloved SmartPhone and you find out that Verizon’s “unlimited” data plan is an additional $45 per month on your bill, on top of your voice plan.  The combination plan they try to push you into is roughly $80/month.

OUCH!  Talk about sticker shock.  The monthly price to use the capabilities of the phone is about equal to the cost of the phone itself.  To translate that, it would be like charging $500 for a computer and having your cable modem/dsl be $500 month.

Also, the iPhone is coming out from Apple.  Cingular’s data plan is something like $50/month.

Why do people pay these prices for mobile data plans?  I pay $35/month for my Comcast cable modem and I get a lot more use out of in that some tiny screen with an awkward user experience.  For example, I have a Treo I’m currently trying out but I’m not going to activate Pocket IE because I don’t want to pay their outragous data plan prices!  It’s crazy!

In my opinion, a mobile data plan should be hmmm…maybe $15 additional.  What do you think?  Please leave a comment below.

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30 comments on “Why are mobile data plans so expensive?
  1. I agree 100%! I’ve been wanting a PDA for a while now but can’t bring myself to pay an extra $45 a month.

    They do have a $25 plan, but you risk going over the 10meg limit.

    I have heard they have some other non-advertised plans that you have to call customer service about. Ask them to look into it for you and they’ll find something.

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  3. For $15 per month for unlimited they’d have some many more customers on these things. The Sidekick data plan is $20 unlimited if you also have a phone plan, but then you’re stuck with T-Mobile service. I think the Verizon Data plans are a bit less if you do their combo phone+data plans, but not much less I assume and I don’t think they have any family plans that are phone+data.

  4. I could justify the $50 plan if the speeds were fast enough to drop comcast and just use my phone as a sort of mobile modem, other than this very unlikely situation I think that the prices are crazy! I am personally very excited about the iphone but I see myself using it as a great ipod/iphone more than a icomputer/iphone. I will most likely have the phone without a data plan and just wifi were available.

  5. The plans are just rediculous in the USA, plus all the taxes and “hidden charges” – FCC should require service providers to state all bill costs up front with all taxes like they do here in Europe. I like the idea of mobile office, but connectivity speeds will never be like that of a cable modem at home. Germany plans to release the new ICE3 High speed train which will have free Internet on-board. I do agree the plans are just out ragous. Why is Cingular now so expensive – there coverage hasn’t increased any, just their costs.

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  7. I am OUTRAGED that cell phone data plans are so expensive! In fact, I have decided not to have web access on my new Nokia E62 smartphone from Cingular.
    My husband can’t have it either. Cellular providers should make the Internet more affordable so more users can take advantage of being able to go online from anywhere at any time.

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  9. i agree! this will be the death of cell phone companies. i have a boostberry (blackberry 8350i on a boost mobile contract) everything works sms/mms, internet, phone. (phone will work as soon as you put a sim card in it, you will need the proper service books for everything else) and i only pay $50 a month for unlimited everything. this is the future. as users start hacking phones to use on any network the desire the big cell companies will continue to lose customers! it’s ashame they sell you a phone and the charge you out the ass to use it! i personnally think a cell phone bill shouldn’t be no more than $30 a month! i also think their should be standards in the industry so a user can use any phone on any network. google boostberry and you’ll see what i’m talking about!

  10. i have a boostberry to! i can hook it up to my laptop and have free internet anywhere. after the hack (BOOSTBERRY.COM) you will have free internet even with out phone service. take that iphone! it took me some time to enable internet and sms text. but $50 a month it was well worth it because all i really wanted was a phone i can use with out paying the dummy fees they sneak on you. plus no contract! take that again iphone! i have a custom built desk top that will blown your iphone away! plus you have to pay $80 to replace a iphone battery thats soldered to the board.

  11. to reply to boostberry beau, i ordered from boostberry.com. on their webpage they say what is included and then when i got the boostberry the headphones were not in the box and they insist they are not included. again, their webpage says “headset included”. they also say “for faster service send email”. i sent emails LAST WEEK (because the browser has problems and texting doesn’t work at all) and they have not replied. i also left voicemail messages and they have not returned the calls. i’m going to post a youtube video showing what happens when you do business with them and how the phones don’t work. i’m about to put the phone in the box, return it, and dispute it with paypal. unfortunately i already transferred my # to boost and paid for the service so i’ll need to get another phone fast. before you do business with this company, try contacting their customer service to see how easy they are to work with because the phone will not work when you get it and if you can’t get them to help you, you will wind up with a $300+ paperweight.

  12. reply to Christo. I didn’t order the phone yet but i did get to talk with a live operator(boostberry.com) about the boostberry phones. So far, you are the only person who has had this complaint. If you’re not a member already, sign up with direct-connect.com and visit their blogs about boostberry.com. i will further investigate boostberry.com but i will say for me, i’d rather just pay for the phone instead of taking a chance with ebay and craiglist and trying to download all the applications.

  13. reply to dredhead: go to their website. look for their street address…? where does it say their street address is on their site? you’re saying that if you click their contact page that # does not go directly to voicemail? before you make any claims about this company’s service, try to contact them about a bricked phone. i’m telling you i have a bricked blackberry. you can buy the 8330 directly from boost and metropcs, for less than boostberry.com charges, without any hacks or dealing with shady companies like this. i can also say that bis, downloading, push, and typical blackberry features do NOT work on this phone. you can NOT download apps and it doesn’t work at all coming out of the box. i don’t like the 8330 and tried this company because the 8350i is a better phone hacked to work on an affordable unlimited plan. thing is, t-mobile has a $60 no-contract plan with unlimited web, data, text, night/weekend voice, 3g gsm network (which means the phones can work anywhere in the world and switch carriers with a new sim- also have international roaming option on this plan), and 500m/mo anytime. their full line of new blackberries are new and fully supported with manufacturers warranties honored at stores nationwide, and they are better phones at a cheaper price than this shady sight. conclusion: metropcs and boost sell their own supported 8330′s that actually work and t-mobile has a comparable no-contract plan with a full line of superior gsm blackberries at decent prices. i have a $320+ paperweight from boostberry.com and THEY ARE SHADY.

  14. i agree with all of u but, beacuse there are still some idiots who pay for these expensive services, these companies will not lower their prices

  15. Yup — people can be real jackasses. Theres another website that compares the real cost of ownership on these “smart” phones and it comes out to be in the range of $2500 to $3500 over two years per phone! I rarely see anyone doing anything that justifies the cost. A buddy of mine laughed at me because I was using a gps and wore a watch — he said, that he has all that on his phone…sure but my watch and gps was maybe $160 total whereas as he’s spending $30 per month on data!

    Its funny but people think they really need these devices and put it right up there with mortgage and food. Myself, I have a tracphone and all it does is call, text and take pictures!

  16. Still the same old law of supply and demand I guess. Lots of ppls are happy to shell out this kind of money to stay “connected”. I have a 4 year old plan from Tmobile for $55/month for 1000 minutes for my wife and I to share, this includes 300 texts for EACH of us each month. I looked at upgrading our 4 year old phones to a low end smartphone…it will cost another $30/month for both of us just to get 200MB of data plan! It would cost $60/month to get unlimited data plan! So…I’m sticking with a standard phone. If I’ve lived without web on my phone into my 40′s, I’ll be just fine without it until I die.

    I’ve been a Tmobile customer for 6 years…but I could add a data plan cheaper if I were a new customer…how’s that for customer loyalty? I guess they want new customers to crank up the dividends for their shareholders, not the service for their customers.

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  18. Because americans voted for expensive internet. Actually the lobbyists did it. We paid for the creation of the net. And we are paying for broadband infrastructure so companies can come rape us. The net should be free. Lets revolt and march till it is. I feel the telecoms are destroying the us economy. People spending on what should be free rather then real products and services. Its pure abuse. Tv as well. Wasting ips im all for gov administration of the net cause we made those traitors act like the gov is sone evil entiyy and not us

  19. I also have to agree I am with ATT right now and I’m paying 25$ a month for a lousy 2 gbs of data and for 45$ you can get 4 gbs I think that is bull. They don’t offer an unlimited plan of any sort for a decent price I personally think they don’t care about customers anymore any how fat there pockets are getting. They would rather just have you pay for nothing and call you a number than a customer. Most of the time I’m on WiFi but I would really like not have to worry about if I’m close to going over my data plan.

  20. I wanted to get a contract phone but they are far too expensive for my pockets..i have other payment to make so 70-90 is crazy..that is a joke..sprint say they’re the cheapest but they are not..blah..everything is sky high in cost…do the smart phone pre paid..the phone are not that far from the contracted smart phones..beside they are money savers

  21. Until some competition hits the market to break up the price fixing scheme, the best way to save is to just get an ipod touch for your Wifi needs. Most people are around free Wifi 90% of the time anyhow. Get a standard flip phone for text message and calls… sucks to carry two things, but you can save $360 or more per year by doing this. I can think of better ways to spend $360 than by surfing the web on a 4×2 inch phone!

  22. You are correct they already charge for the bandwidth for voice and it cost them next to nothing to add data.

  23. its funny how people can be so dumb. the way i see it is if you want a smartphone which almost everyone does then you should be allowed to get one without paying $30,$50,or even $80 a month just extra alone and lets face it basic flip phones just dont cut it anymore i think phone companies should have a family smartphone data plan for an extra $30 a month at the most we already pay for so much why do you make us pay more the phones are already $200-$400 for a 2 year contract its insane and with this economy how can some people afford it thts why im going to say adios verison and go with sprint and just pay the $10 a month data charge at least they understand people

  24. i fired att. i refuse to pay $120 plus for a cell phone. You suckers can continue to let the carriers rape you, I will go without a cell phone and use my nettalk duo at home for $30 a year.

  25. I know right… The thing you can get 250g for your home interent for like $30 and to get internet on your phone is 300mb for $20. Somthing seems jacked up. There is no excuses why they sould be putting it this high

  26. Try straight talk from walmart- $45 per month Talk and Data- no contract BS and no crazy fees- At first I laughed at the thought of walmart phones but its actually great and they have some nice smartphones.

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