By the first six months of 2006 approximately 220 million US cell phone subscribers had signed on the dotted line. That is a whole lot of people using a whole lot of plans. As a matter of fact wireless tentacles reached out and touched more than 72 percent of the U.S. population.
If those facts do not set you back a few paces, try this on for size, it gives you a clearer picture of the cellular wireless behemoth we have in our front yard. For the first six months of 2006, the wireless money pocketed after bills were paid was almost $7 billion.
Hold on to your hat, here is the rub. For the first six months of 2005, the wireless money pocketed after bills were paid was $4 billion. A staggering increase period over period.
Network service providers such as T Mobile, Cingular and Sprint just to name a few are putting some good offers on the table. The cell phone service plans are as different as the faces that struggle to explain them.
The carriers are trying to include the needs of everyone into their varied plans and packages. For instance, you may primarily be interested in maintaining contact with family and friends because you travel so much. They have tried to accommodate you.
Maybe you are younger and enjoy the wireless games and the fun options associated with cell phones. You do a lot of downloading of ringtones and screensavers. Or you may only need a text messaging work horse. They have tried to accommodate you also.
How about those who enjoy being way out there on the cutting edge? Well known for having the absolute latest gadgets. Love the words multimedia, smart phone and now you want to ride the crest of the 3G wave. They have tried to accommodate you as well.
The basic ground level plan has the ability to bring the wireless behemoth right outside the door of the not so rich and famous. They conjure up plans that are attractive and affordable to the masses.
Many of these service plans piggyback on free phones. The cell phone is generally a one time cost. Studies have shown that most people replace their mobile every 18 months. It is not hidden under a bushel that the money is in the service plan, any service plan.
For instance, someone I know gets a real kick out of ringtones. Everytime their phone rang it had a different call to arms. He recently downloaded ringtones from an unfamiliar website. The very next month he received monthly charges for those ringtones.
He did not uncheck the box indicating monthly payments. Neither did he read their website terms. In his blind quest to have his favorite ringtones he did not even see the check box let alone think of the website terms. He will in the future though.
Some cell phone carriers cloak their contracts with red herrings. Are you sufficiently confused by that sentence? Maybe I should write carrier contracts! What I mean is this, what does the word data mean to you? You have to answer that, not me.
Your main concern is this. What does the word data mean to your carrier? Believe me it means different things to different carriers. Some take data to mean text messaging, email and music only! Downloading family photos may fall outside of your carrier definition of data. And you will receive a hefty fine (bill) for transgressing their data law.