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Wireless Bills in The US May be on The Rise, But Do We Care?

March 10, 2014 - Written By Ray Greer

There are those of us who go all out when it comes to our wireless service. We don’t look too much at what the bill will cost, and just get the best of the best. So when we hear that the average monthly bill in the US for wireless service is at $61.15, we think wow thats cheap. Well, for the rest of the US, that is actually an increase in the average, and it seems as though that trend may not end.
During the first quarter in 2010, the monthly average in the US for postpaid customers was at $55.80. However, in the fourth quarter of 2013, the average showed a 2.2 rise year by year. That $61.15, that some of us would love to be paying for our monthly service, is a .9% raise from the reports, according to New Street Research. Though we keep reporting about how T-Mobile is causing carriers to go to war over our business, it all could just be a facade.

T-Mobile has been doing some interesting things, getting rid of contracts and device subsidies, but how much is that really saving the everyday user of their service? Like all good deals, there is always a catch. So for those of us using the JUMP program, we may not be paying very much up front, but month by month, we are paying more than usual. That is obviously due to the installment rate we are paying for our devices. It may not seem like a big deal to us, but it is raising the monthly average for wireless service costs. This is also how T-Mobile is expecting to make their money back for paying etf’s and other upfront costs. Where does all of that leave the other carriers in the US?

Well according to the leading two carriers, Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile is not causing a war. Instead, they claim that networks are the cause behind recent actions by the companies. They have both ditched the idea of “Unlimited Data” which in turn caused T-Mobile to up the price for their unlimited data. As would anybody, if they provided a service that was hard to find, you charge an arm and a leg for that service. This raise in the price for unlimited data hasn’t stopped people from using it. In fact, data numbers show that the average amount of data has risen to 5GB per consumer. According to Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, “When it comes to the monthly prices that people pay, those continue to go up. It has gotten a little more competitive lately, but it isn’t effectively competitive yet where the big two have to lower prices.”

This statement seems to ring true, since Verizon CEO, Lowell McAdam, denies there is such a thing as a price war altogether, and even laughs at the idea. “I think it is interesting given my years in the industry, how you hear things like price war and all that being kicked around in the media today and this is really nothing different from what we have seen over the last couple of decades.” Still there is one other company trying to shake things up, Sprint.

Sprint still is eyeing T-Mobile, with all intentions of buying them. However there was a time when Sprint may have said forget it, and avoid a mess altogether. The reason behind that has been discussed many times, basically we are looking at the government stopping the deal from going through. So there would be no point in even trying to buy T-Mobile, especially if the Department of Justice and the FCC are frowning upon the idea. The frowns are coming from the same overall ideal of competition, without competition, all four wireless companies would have a Verizon like outlook and charge us all way too much for services.

That may change soon though, because we may see a new provider enter the playing field. Incase you haven’t heard, Dish Network has picked up some mobile spectrum of their own. What they plan to do with it is still speculated, but we are sure it will have something to do with offering services to the US. If that is the case, and Dish becomes a mobile service provider, there will be enough players for Sprint to gobble up T-Mobile, and competition will not be threatened, at least not where we see it currently.

At the end of the day, we pay what we are willing to, if not, then we just live without, or at least go to prepaid plans. After all, this is America, and we have freedom of choice, right?