Is Your Cell Phone Data Plan A Scam?

Google recently made a hard point when it comes to cell phone data plans; you are paying too much. Way too much. They did this with their weirdly named Project Fi.

If you sign up for Project Fi you get the standard $10 per GB but in this instance Google refunds you for any data you don’t use. If you sign up for a 5 GB per month plan and only use 3 GB, you get $20 towards your next bill. This isn’t rollover minutes, this is rollover cash and it’s a bigger deal than it sounds at first. Not surprisingly a few other carriers are announcing new and confusing price bundles to obscure what is going on, but Republic Wireless is straight up offering the same deal.

Google stance is we only pay for exactly the amount of water, oil, electricity and gas we use so why are we paying for bandwidth we don’t use, or worse why are we paying for bandwidth others are using. When we go to the store we only pay for the food in our cart, not some hypothetical guess as to how much we will eat in a given month.

While this sounds crazy when presented so clearly the cell companies operate in this manner right now. If you are a subscriber of T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint you are paying for data you probably are not using. Every month. RIGHT NOW!

The data rollover options of AT&T and T-Mobile take a bit of the sting out of it but if you never use the data then you never get the value from the plan. You might cancel your subscription with 800 BG of data you can’t cash in. Also keep in mind AT&T will only roll data over for one month while T-Mobile will roll it over for a year. But again so what if you don’t actually use it.
AT&T as announced that it will increase its rollover plan to an unspecified future date and T-Mobile is following suit. This is obviously an attempted answer to Google’s elegant “pay what use” plan but it’s hardly competitive by comparison.

And don’t worry so much about your wireless carrier’s profits after they release a more efficient data plan for you. Verizon announced that almost 56% of all wireless revenue last quarter was profit. By way of comparison Sprint announced a 15.5% on wireless revenue. These guy are doing just fine and Verizon is yodeling all the way to several banks.

Cheap isn’t always the best and it is a proven fact that you get what you pay for. Verizon and AT&T service tends to eclipse that of Sprint and T-Mobile by a wide margin. With that in mind Project Fi uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks and is very restrictive on what phones you can use. Google will only carry the Nexus 6!

Also is you are on a family plan you may get off cheaper with Verizon or AT&T. The Edge Plan from Verizon is particularly good if you us a combined data throughput of 10 GB or more (which isn’t hard with kids burning through YouTube).