cell phone plan http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14931/all en-US Why Is the Cell Phone Industry So Screwed Up? http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-the-cell-phone-industry-so-screwed-up <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-is-the-cell-phone-industry-so-screwed-up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4506307928_42db84ab2e_z.jpg" alt="cell phone" title="cell phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cell phone bills are on the rise. Again. Oh, you broke your phone and didn&rsquo;t have insurance on it? That&rsquo;ll be $500+ to replace it. Or you can terminate your contract early. For $175.</p> <p>What&rsquo;s wrong with the cell phone industry? Why does it seem that customers are getting the raw end of the deal and nobody is stepping forward to fix it? Why, exactly, is the cell phone industry so screwed up? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-my-flip-phone-the-5-smartphone-effects">Why I Like My Flip Phone</a>)</p> <h2>Fierce Competition?</h2> <p>The Atlantic shows us <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/the-state-of-play-in-the-mobile-industry-in-one-venn-diagram/261712/" target="_blank">how profit is shared</a> in the cell phone industry, and why. Apple, of course, enjoys the major share of the profits on the handset side of the business (the company made media headlines in July 2011 for having more available cash than the United States federal government), while other developers are racing to keep up with our smartphone obsession.</p> <p>As for network providers themselves, there is a little more competition, with Verizon and AT&amp;T at the top and T-Mobile, Sprint, and various prepaid providers on the lower rungs of the ladder. Once AT&amp;T lost its exclusive iPhone offering rights, Verizon made some significant gains, but the power struggle between network providers continues.</p> <h2>Patent Wars?</h2> <p>The Huffington Post has an entire section of their website dedicated to the legal battles between <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/apple-samsung-lawsuit" target="_blank">Apple and Samsung</a>, the world's top two smartphone designers and manufacturers.</p> <p>In August 2012, Apple sued Samsung for $2.5 billion over intellectual property right infringements. The verdict? $1 billion to Apple. And it hasn&rsquo;t stopped there. Samsung countersued and lost, and now <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-gagnier/patent-litigation_b_2421877.html" target="_blank">patent litigation</a> is upping the stakes in the cell phone industry.</p> <p>Innovation seems to be at war with healthy competition; if Apple controls numerous patents in regards to smartphone technologies, how can the others possibly compete without the threat of lawsuits? Some may argue that Samsung has superior technology and platforms via Google&rsquo;s Android, but with one victory under its belt, lawsuits involving Apple or other cell phone companies are likely to get more frequent and messier from here on out.</p> <h2>Dwindling Profit Margin?</h2> <p>The demand for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-money-on-ipads-iphones-and-macs">Apple products</a> never seems to fade, but more and more people are jumping on the alternate smartphone bandwagon these days. While Apple is far from financially insecure, this spike in competition in recent years has forced the company to find ways to keep costs from spiraling beyond what the market deems acceptable (brand name can only get them so far, especially when you could easily buy another smartphone for half the cost of an iPhone).</p> <p>Partnering with Sprint and Verizon (in addition to AT&amp;T) helped Apple retain its dominance in the realm of cell phone sales (as much as 73% of the market share belongs to Apple), but in a time where disposable incomes are limited and cell phone bills are on the rise, the Apple frenzy has quieted considerably since the development of the first few iPhones.</p> <p>As for network providers, gone are the days of relying on massive profits from the price-per-text model, as unlimited calling and texting plans are on the rise (despite their ever-increasing cost to the consumer). The industry experimented with unlimited data plans but ultimately found it unsuccessful and phased it out of their menu of services. Apps are also eliminating once-valuable sources of income for these companies, with free calling options from apps like Skype<em> </em>and free texting from a variety of apps like WeChat and What&rsquo;sApp motivating customers to opt out of pricier calling and texting plans that offer more minutes and more texts.</p> <p>The solution? Charge consumers more for data and make it harder for them to switch carriers.</p> <h2>Final Word</h2> <p>Fierce competition over pricing structures and patents are complicating matters in the industry, and dwindling profit margins are prompting companies to increase prices for phones and cell service to maintain the same level of growth they experienced the previous decade. Who pays for all this? Consumers do.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to defend your wallet form the mobile phone industry's aggressive pricing and marketing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-the-cell-phone-industry-so-screwed-up">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">Buying a New Smartphone Without Extending Your Contract</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-signal-5-quick-ways-to-boost-your-cell-phone-reception-updated">No Signal? 5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Cell Phone Reception. Updated.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-getting-charged-by-a-text-message-scam">Are You Getting Charged by a Text Message Scam?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology cell phone plan cell phones smartphones Fri, 01 Mar 2013 10:48:57 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 967945 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Free or Cheap Internet Access http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-or-cheap-internet-access <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-free-or-cheap-internet-access" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4092671681_3b04f8c1a8_z.jpg" alt="woman with laptop" title="woman with laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It is not unusual to pay $15 to $70 a month for cable or DSL Internet service in your home. The lower price is normally obtained by bundling your Internet with other services, such as your home phone and cable television. If you are looking to reduce your monthly expenses but still want to use the Internet, here are some ways you can get free or cheap Internet access. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits">Cutting the Cable Cord Has More Than Financial Benefits</a>)</p> <h3>Consider Dial-Up Internet</h3> <p>If you don&rsquo;t use the Internet frequently or don&rsquo;t have a need for lightning-fast service, you may consider using dial-up Internet service instead of DSL, cable, or FIOS. You can get dial-up Internet for as low as $9.99 a month through <a href="http://www.netzero.net/">NetZero</a>, provided you live in an area the company services. <a href="http://www.juno.com/index.html">Juno</a> advertises a dial-up plan for $10.95 a month. <a href="http://www.earthlink.net/dialup/">EarthLink</a> offers a plan for as low as $12.50 a month if you prepay for a year at a time.</p> <h3>Internet Service Through Your Cell Phone Provider</h3> <p>If you already have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-that-cell-phone-contract-save-with-a-prepaid-plan">cell phone plan</a>, you might save money by using a data plan through your cell phone company rather than having both a cell phone plan and a separate Internet service. <a href="http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/plan-information/?page=share-everything">Verizon</a> charges between $50 and $100 a month for a cell phone and data plan, depending how much data you use per month. For some people, even the higher price of $100 a month for a data plan and phone service with Verizon would be less expensive than their existing monthly phone service and separate monthly Internet service bills. Verizon also offers a prepaid service for unlimited talk, text, and a data plan starting at $50 per month with no annual contract. If you don&rsquo;t like the idea of checking your email or social media accounts on your phone, you can often use the cellular data plans through other device, including tablets or laptop computers, by turning your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot.</p> <h3>Limit Your Internet Use to Free Wi-Fi Locations</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re not a college student, finding free Wi-Fi can be challenging if you are looking for an always-on, always-available location. If you don&rsquo;t have an absolute need for Internet access in your home, you can get free Internet access from most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-you-should-support-your-local-library">public libraries</a>. For some people, the library is conveniently located on their way to or from work and could easily take the place of Internet at home if you are someone who only uses the Internet for email or for occasional research.</p> <p>If you have a wireless-enabled device such as a laptop, phone, or tablet, you can find free Wi-Fi through a variety of coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and even some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-save-money-at-the-bars">bars</a>. Use a site like <a href="http://www.wififreespot.com/">Wi-Fi FreeSpot</a> to search for free Wi-Fi locations according to your location or where you plan to travel.</p> <h3>Internet for Low-Income Americans</h3> <p>There are government programs that exist to provide free or cheap Internet service for lower-income Americans. The availability of programs depends on location, availability of funds, and the applicant&rsquo;s income level. The <a href="http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/scitech/technology/low-cost-internet-program-launched">FCC</a> announced a program called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.connect2compete.org/">Connect to Compete</a>,&rdquo; which will provide low-cost computers to low-income homes, and Internet access for $9.99 a month.</p> <p>You may also have luck finding a program for low-income Americans on <a href="http://www.cheapinternet.com/low-income-internet">CheapInternet.com</a>, as well as a listing of possible <a href="http://www.cheapinternet.com/free-internet">free Internet programs</a> on this page (while I&rsquo;m pretty sure the &ldquo;Google TISP&rdquo; was an elaborate April Fool&rsquo;s joke that went a little too far, the other options for possible free Internet look legitimate).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debbie-dragon">Debbie Dragon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-or-cheap-internet-access">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home cell phone plan cheap internet computers free wifi Tue, 16 Oct 2012 10:24:44 +0000 Debbie Dragon 954956 at http://www.wisebread.com