Here’s the deal. When you choose your cell phone plan, you are likely to be all “Wow! I get 1500 minutes for $45 a month! That’s like 3 cents a minute!”
Wrong. Because the chances are you aren’t using all those minutes you’re paying for. In fact, if you divide the total amount you pay by the total amount of minutes you use, chances are you’re spending a lot more per minute than you think.
The Times reports on a study of the phone bills of 700 San Diego residents, found that dividing the amount paid by the amount used showed that residents were actually paying about $3 a minute to their cell providers:
“We knew it was a myth that wireless costs were going down,” said Michael Shames, UCAN’s executive director. “But we were blown away by the actual costs.”
That $3-per-minute figure is skewed by the relatively small percentage of people who pay for a lot of minutes but barely use any. But even when those folk are taken out of the mix, most wireless customers still pay between 50 cents and $1 per minute, the study found.
Some would argue that the disparity between what people are paying and what people think they are paying is the fault of the cell phone providers, who have engineered this situation by concocting increasingly labyrinthine contract terms that prey on our vulnerabilities. Others say fuck that it’s your fault, dummy:
“We encourage people to look at their bill, question their bill, and call us if they see anything that’s not right,” said John Britton, an AT&T spokesman.
Ken Muche, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, echoed this sentiment. “If you’re not using the total amount of minutes in the bucket, we’ll work with you to get you on the right plan,” he said.
All I know is it’s bullshit that they charge extra for the lightsaber function on my iPhone. Oh wait, it’s free? Consider yourselves warned, Sith lords.