I’m at a Loss

Cellular (mobile) phone companies are evil, there’s no doubt about that. Particularly here in the U.S., where service is often abysmal and the companies make every effort to nickel-and-dime you to death.

So I can understand not wanting to give them one more hot cent than you absolutely must, but still I’m confused by this:

Derek C. F. Pegritz, an English composition instructor at Waynesburg College in western Pennsylvania, wants to switch cellphone carriers because of dropped calls, but he isn’t sure how he’ll do it.

“I’m shelling out $90 a month for a phone that basically sits there and collects dust,” he said.

But getting out of his contract will cost him $170. Mr. Pegritz has tried to explore other ways to be released from the remaining year of his contract, but the best he hopes for is a compromise by Cellular One. “I’m looking forward to that about as much as I’m looking forward to getting several teeth pulled next week,” he said.
NYT: Getting Out of a 2-Year Cellphone Contract Alive

If your phone “basically sits there and collects dust”, you’re getting $0/month of value from it. If you’re shelling out $90/month for service and have a “remaining year” left on your contract, you need to pay 12×90 = $1,080 for the next year.

In what scenario is it smart to just let the phone collect dust? If your service sucks, yes, by all means call the company and complain and try to get a break. But if not, pay the damn $170 to save nine hundred dollars in monthly fees!

3 Responses to “I’m at a Loss”

  1. The multicellular Mr. Pech Says:

    Remember the number one rule, People are stupid. Also didn’t Cellular One become Cingular? which is also going to become AT&T?

  2. Joel Says:

    What do you guys use? I finally broke down and got a cell phone for Christmas. It’s like a Baby’s First Cellphone Plan, with pay-as-you-go billing, and no annual contracts to sign. On the other hand, the minutely rate is as expensive ($.14/minute) as those losers who go over their monthly alloted minutes. And it doesn’t come with any cool games or features–those are expensive and lame. But on the other other hand, I spend/talk way less per month than a regular monthly plan. And I can always play with myself instead of the cell phone.

    (By which I mean fun imagination-based games like “Invisible Monkey Swings From Power Lines” and “Guess Which Shifty Foreigner Is Concealing a Bomb”.)

  3. jsp Says:

    I have McCaw AT&T Cingular AT&T, by way of a family plan into which I was fortunately grandfathered in.

    I think pay as you go is pretty good if most of your friends are on the same carrier. The GoPhone plan that lets you talk to other Cingular AT&T customers is pretty good if your family has their family plan, for example.

    But I think the real innovation is happening at the second tier operators. T-Mobile’s “myFive” concept is nice in that it even works with landlines, and U.S. Cellular’s free incoming calls is excellent for those who may do more receiving than calling.

    Really, we need EU/Oz-style free incoming calls on mobiles as well.

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