How Wireless Companies Rip You Off
...and what the FCC can do about it
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 26, 2011 12:40 PM CDT
The wireless market is in need of more regulation, the New York Times editors write.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

(Newser) – Wireless carriers call for minimum regulations on their industry, claiming their market is competitive. But with consumers bound by two-year contracts, it’s easy for companies like Verizon and AT&T to take advantage. It’s time for the FCC to get serious about protecting wireless users, the editors of the New York Times write. The agency can start by curbing early termination fees on contracts to give consumers more power to shop around. Text messaging provides another disturbing example.

Texts cost companies a fraction of a penny to send, but the firms charge up to 20 cents. What’s more, companies make a killing separating voice, data, and text plans and making us shell out for separate plans for each of our gadgets—a practice that “makes little sense technologically.” An FCC deal with the industry announced last week to warn about usage limits is a step forward, but it doesn’t carry penalties for violations. The agency should assert its authority over broadband access to save us from a “deregulated, less-than-competitive market.” Click through for the full editorial.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
Oct 27, 2011 12:46 AM CDT
If you don't like the service, if you think its too expensive, then for Christ's sake, drop them and move to another company. I pay under 30 bucks a month for my cell phone because I use it as a phone. I don't text with it because that's what email is for, and I don't cruise the Internet with it because I have a computer for that. On the other hand, if you just GOTTA surf the net with your phone and you REALLY NEED to send a thousand texts a month, then you're a teenager and you need to shut the fuck up about your cell phone bill.
Oct 26, 2011 4:39 PM CDT
If you don't want a two year contract then DON'T SIGN A TWO-YEAR CONTRACT. Want the iPhone? Then that may be the price you have to pay. These larger companies charging so much is allowing for budget carriers like MetroPCS to gain traction and market share. Vote with your feet and quit pushing for the government to force a company to lower their price. I cut Verizon ($120 per month for two phones) and went to a month-to-month plan with pageplus (which uses Verizon towers anyway) for $60 a month. Do your research.
Oct 26, 2011 4:02 PM CDT
That's not the right approach or the direction that the American free market system should be headed. Instead... Allow foreign cell phone companies to enter and compete in the US market. That will shape Verizon and AT&T right up.