Ng: Cell phone bills and data plans-A A +A
By Wilson Ng
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
WHAT do you think when you look at your cell phone bill? I talked to my friends and many of them are not very clear on how they are being charged. You should be, because according to a study in the UK, three quarters of mobile phone subscribers have the wrong plan and because of it, UK cell phone users were paying in excess of $8 billion because of misjudged contracts.
In a study of 28,000 bills undertaken by UK’s Bill Monitor, they concluded that the UK consumer spends as much as $700 on average per year on their cell phone bills, but as much of half or $320 dollars of that is wasted.
Many people erred by enrolling in plans that are more expensive than what they needed because they did not want to be penalized for using the excess minutes, which are normally much more expensive. The free minutes that are bundled in a plan is typically cheaper than the excess minutes but three quarters of customers never exceeded their monthly allowances and some used far less. This is throwing “free” minutes away.
On the other hand, there were also those who went to the other extreme of underestimating their usage and then finding out that they had to pay a lot of punitive charges because of it.
These two added together, people who overestimated and underestimated their usage and therefore selected the wrong plan, added up to over $8 billion wasted.
I have heard also many stories about data plans. Since more and more people are using smartphones, the cell phones now allow them to surf the Web. I have personally at least heard a few of my friends complain how suddenly in one month, they were hit by triple or quadruple that of their normal bill because of the data plans. Some of them never consciously surfed the Internet and probably racked up huge data usage because some smartphones automatically download or update data.
Data plans are even more difficult to understand and there could be big gaps. Most people who are conscientious may use up only 20 megabytes or 40 megabytes per month but people who don’t understand and suddenly start watching videos and movies would suddenly be surprised why they used up 800 megabytes that month.
The numbers are in. Motorola Xoom Tablets were among the first wave of Android tablets that used Android 3.0 or “Honeycomb.” In January, it won the best design award during the Consumer Electronics Expo. It reported that the tablet sold over 100,000 units during its first week of introduction.
While this may seem a big number, it is way below what Apple recorded when it sold over 500,000 units during its first week for the iPad 2.
It is reported that Android will be the main competitor to iPad when it comes to cell phones and tablets. In fact, Android currently holds the number 1 position in smart phones. Android is an operating system and many manufacturers use it in their phones, including LG, Samsung, HTC, Dell, Acer, Lenovo so its combined sale easily exceeded that of Apple. However, most of the cell phones, and even the first batch of Android tablets, used Android version 2.1 or 2.2 – this version was designed for cell phones and not for the bigger tablets. Honeycomb or version 3.0 was supposed to be the first wave of systems designed solely for tablet, and therefore includes enhancements for the bigger screen. (www.ngkhai.net/bizdrivenlife)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 14, 2011.