With smartphones becoming a fixed feature in most people's lives, a new study takes a look at how much it really costs to stay connected, finding that nearly half of the participants claimed to pay $100 or more per month for their mobile phone service and more than one-in-ten pay $200 or more.
More shocking is that one-in-five of those surveyed said they pay more for their mobile phone service than they do for groceries in a typical month, with some carrier plans costing 33% of customers more money than other household expenses, such as basic utilities like water, gas and electric.
The survey comes from CouponCabin, an Internet outlet for savings, and was conducted online by Harris Interactive, analyzing 2,310 U.S. adults ages 18 and older from September 4 to 6.
Even Basic Service is Expensive
As the nation's largest carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, no longer offer unlimited data plans, opting for tiered service agreements instead, some subscribers pay over $100 depending on the amount of data they choose. For example, customers with 4GB of monthly data transfers and unlimited voice and texts pay $110, ranking them with the 46% of participants who pay $100 or more per month for their mobile phone service. Despite carriers like T-Mobile and Sprint offering unlimited plans, customers will still pay up to $90 a month for service agreements such as T-Mobile's single line Classic agreement with unlimited data, voice, and texting.
This is ironic when one considers that phone users are not particularly satisfied with the wireless service they are getting, although some carriers do better than others.
"Mobile phones are ingrained in our everyday lives, but their high costs can do damage to a monthly budget," said Jackie Warrick, President and Chief Savings Officer at CouponCabin.com. "Many mobile phone owners are now revisiting their plans and looking at ways to cut back."
Some customers have taken the group approach to save money, with nearly 58% of mobile phone users currently using a family/friend plan with their service providers. So what other ways can you cut back? Warrick offers tips such as auditing usage to see how much your average monthly voice and data consumption really is, compared to the plan you are paying for.
As more companies flood the market with high-end smartphones, such as Apple's latest iPhone 5, the temptation to transition from a feature phone is more alluring than ever, but be sure you're not overpaying for a service agreement!