Five ways cellphone companies could get better

CellChain_fbCUB is all about consumer choice, and we think the cellphone industry is in need of a makeover. Here are a few changes we’d like to see:

1. Pay-for-what-you-use data pricing. We’ve already told you about how badly smartphone customers are overpaying on bloated data plans. A key remedy would be to offer plans where customers pay only for the data they actually use each month, rather than a fat monthly fee for data they never use. We’ve created a petition you can send to your wireless carrier to ask for these plans.

2. No-contract plans. A few companies such a T-Mobile have embraced this trend, but we hope to see larger carriers do so as well. No-contract plans offer similar services to the traditional two-year plans, without locking you in.

3. Transferrable phones. Too many customers run into an expensive problem as they try to switch carriers and save: Their current, working phone won’t function on the new network. This means they have to purchase a new phone, even when the new device appears identical to the old one (looking at you, Mr. iPhone).

4. Rollover data. Seems like the companies can handle rollover minutes and texts just fine, so why not data? According to CTIA, the wireless industry group, the majority of smartphone users only use 800MB per month–less than the 1GB or 2GB typical for many data plans. Wouldn’t it be great if the extra data didn’t just disappear?

5. Stop cramming at the source. Cramming–or fraudulent third-party fees that show up on your bill–really needs to stop. We’d like to see the cellphone companies work with federal regulators on tougher rules to stop the practice. And it would be nice to see the industry take steps to create the kind of quick-response security system that the credit card industry has created to combat fraud. It sure would increase customer appreciation and support!

Have ideas on how cellphone companies can improve? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Responses to Five ways cellphone companies could get better

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know why esure the insurence company for cell phones. Are alowed to charge what ever they feel . When you get a new phone there is a manufacture warrent with it. But if you take out the insurence from your carrier it is nel and void. So if you buy a Iphone and have your insurence throw your carrier and your phone gets damaged you pay $200.00 up to have it replaced with a refurmished phone that may or may not work form esure. I am sorry but that is not right when the phone is not even 3 mo old and you are not given any other choice. Like apple plan when you purchase it that cost you $99.00 for a yr or repair of boken back which is a $50.00 cost. Esure is one of the bigest rip off for the $6.95 you pay for there insurence they cover nothing except to charge you to replace your iphone with somebody used phone that may or may not work for $200.
    this companay should be held acountable for giving you the opt to have it repaired or replaced

  2. mprewitt says:

    The above are all good suggestions.

    Also, text messaging is massively overpriced. For support of this claim, see http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1921373,00.html or http://gizmodo.com/5832245/atts-new-text-plan-overcharges-you-by-10000000 or http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/aboutus/mission/viewpoint/why-text-messaging-is-too-expensive/overview/text-messaging-ov.htm.)

    The whole idea of pre-paying for minutes, data, etc., is an extortion scheme, especially since unused minutes, data, etc., expires and is lost. In the old days phone companies charged us after the fact for actual long-distance minutes used and other fees incurred in the past billing cycle, and that is a much more reasonable billing system. Expiring prepayment plans in any industry are simply a way to milk customers for money; they hand over money with no corresponding goods or services rendered.

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