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Posted by on Mar 5, 2010 in Opinion, Technology, TG Roundup

How much the cell phone plan costs ? Do You need a Smartphone ?

Okay, before we deep dive into this topic I have to say this is a rather lengthy post, so bear with me and hope you will be benefited.

First the question is “Do you want a smartphone ?” or “Do you need a smartphone ?” I would say YES. Absolutely. You hear folks saying “I just need a phone for talking,I don’t want to pay for the data connection”, “I just need a little small phone with just buttons” or “Its okay I don’t need to check my email on the phone, I have a desktop at home and a laptop at work so I really don’t need to check email every second”. Oh well, that’s all good, in that case you don’t need a smartphone, but then again you can live without a mobile phone too. Yes, there are fixed lines everywhere; even on the interstates. This is 2010 , hokay, not 1990 or 1970. Mobile Phone is becoming a necessity for most of the folks in the world. Of course you still can drop the coins to make phone calls. But if you want to save time (money), you better have a mobile phone. Smartphones are even better, Why? Leave the school kids here for a second and talk about the rest. If you are an employee/ professional or owner of a small business (doctor,professor, engineer, lawyer, clerk, nurse…… or a financial analyst working for Goldman (sorry Mohan garu couldn’t resist ). You probably need to access your email, get directions on the GPS and plan your schedule. Right? you can do all of these with a smartphone. If you are a housewife with school going kids you probably need a amartphone for saving kid’s schedule and for emailing the teacher. If you are a college going student , sure you need to check your email, Google the web, browse the net, play games and read your subject material too. And if you are OBAMA 🙂 , hmm you need a smartphone to send emails.If you are a professional searching for job, you too need a smartphone. So back to the point, most of us (if not all of us) need a mobile phone, a smartphone would be even better. I have another compelling reason to believe that you need a smartphone. You can listen to TORI on your smartphone . Yes. you can listen to the songs anytime from that little phone.

The second part is about the cost of the plan for buying and maintaining a smartphone. Most phones are in the rage of $ 99.00 to $ 299.00. Which is a one time investment. Buying any smartphone would be fine. You cannot go wrong with current offerings like iPhone, Android phones , Windows mobile, Palm Pre and BB. The handset is a personal preference, I wouldn’t worry about it since most of them are almost equal in terms of features. Pick what you think is the best. The real cost lies in the monthly plan. If you are paying $ 99.00/month for a cellphone carrier on a two year contract, you should know that you are actually giving $ 2400.00 to that carrier. So do the math and find how much are you getting in return. Make sure your plant lets you to make calls, email, use the GPS, browse the web, listen to streaming music, take photos and shoot videos. While I cannot recommend one carrier over other , there are few things I noticed unique to each of these carriers. Verizon has an impeccable network but expensive plans. ATT lets you roll over minutes, but coverage is bad in couple of places and the data plan is expensive. SPRINT gives more bang for the buck, you can make calls to any cellphone on any network (to Verizon , ATT and T Mo) but has a spotty coverage. T Mobile is cheap saves money and you can even give the used phone back to a cousin/ friend in India (doubt it) after a two year term, but the coverage is bad. To help us with the cell phone plans folks at Billshrink.com put together the below sheet.

For those who has a plan or willing to buy a plan, I hope that you get to save some money using this chart. It is a month old (as of Feb 2010) and prices may be bit off, but they are in the range. What plan you have?, which phones you use ? comment away !!!!

click here to see it in the full size
Cell Phone Comparison

3 Comments

  1. any folks reading this, switch to Sprint and save your hard earned money.

  2. Kanaka Prasad Garu,
    I guess we share the same phone, needless to say my experience is similar to yours.The phone is a life saver. I tell my wife to text the grocery list when I am in the Indian store. That saves hours of “I told you to bring Vankaya you brought Kakarakaya”

    Rest of your points are spot on, specially the addictive part. I doctored my Pre seven times.Prior to that tinkered with my old Treo ROMs. Let’s not talk about the texting part :). That is one dangerous thing. I was tempted to do that on our curvy Washington Beltway in a brain dead moment. We should remember that the phone is our slave not the other way around. Yup. buying a smart phone as status symbol is a waste of money. It is similar to buying a Lamborghini only to be driven by a chauffeur.
    But the overall the positives outweigh the negatives as I get to listen TORI on my Pre which I couldn’t have done with the countless Sanyos I owned in the past. Also I am waiting for the Adobe flash support on the phone.

  3. Bhanu Prakash,

    I have been using PDA/Smart Phones for last 6yrs and I love them. It made my life so organized. I do use my Palm Pre for following: text, web, music, internet radio, calender, tasks, chat, camera, camcorder, news and games. I have learned lately that these benefits come with a lot of disadvantages. Let me list the disadvantages of smart phone with my personal experience.

    1. They are extremely addictive.
    2. Takes a big chunk of your personal time.
    3. You don’t believe if I tell you how many times I pulled over to text while driving and you can imagine the danger if I do the same while driving.
    4. Disturbs your concentration at work.
    5. makes you restless if you lost or damage your phone.

    I know a lot of friends who have an iPhone and never use it for any productive things. If you have a smart phone as status symbol, that is not being smart. If a person says that he/she need a phone just for calls and gets a cheapest available phone, I admire that. Its just waste of money to have a smart phone and not use it. It is just waste of money. My 0.02