Smartphones are everywhere. The vast majority of people carry these tiny supercomputers in their pockets or purses everyday. And while it’s well known that owning and operating a smartphone may not be cheap, the actual number value is typically a mystery. Between confusing contracts and fees hidden in your monthly bill, you might be wondering how much you’re really spending on your mobile phone.
It depends, of course, on what type of smartphone as well as your service provider and plan. Keep reading for a breakdown how much mobile phones really cost you.
How Much Your Mobile Phone is Costing You
With each plan from major providers, you’re typically paying monthly for data as well as for the smartphone. You’ll also be paying extra for taxes on each monthly payment, which will likely sit around 15% of the original amount.
For reference, the before-tax price of a monthly, single line smartphone plan–with unlimited data or the highest amount of data offered–for each major carrier is below:
- Verizon: $85 before device
- AT&T: $90 before device
- Sprint: $50 before device
- T-Mobile: $70 before device
On top of these numbers, it’s also important to consider these essential factors related to mobile phone usage over a lifetime:
- Most people have a cell phone by 18, and that age is getting much younger
- Most people will own a mobile phone throughout their lives, making the length of ownership at least 62 years between the ages of 18 and 80 — and this is a conservative estimation
- Mobile phones that are bought as part of a plan cost from $0 to around $200, while phones that are not bought as part of a plan can run up to $650 (Forbes)
With that information, you can deduce that most people will spend around $37,200 to $66,960 on their mobile phones plans throughout their lives. Those who update their phones every two years could be looking at up to $6,200 extra–and all of this is excluding tax and inflation.
Why Does This Matter and How Can You Save Money?
The natural response to this information is that you need a cell phone. While the majority of previous generations had no such luxury, it is true that smartphones have become a staple of modern life. Still, there are more economically responsible choices out there that are worthwhile to consider. For example, how much more impact might that money make if it were invested in a 401K, used for a more high-impact purchase, such as a home or vehicle, or put towards costly educational expenses.
When looking to save money on your mobile phone bills, try these excellent strategies:
- Consider buying a used phone or an older phone. While the pull to have the latest mobile phone technology is strong, you can often get the most important capabilities on older versions without paying the higher price tag for novelty.
- Be creative in your search for carriers.The carrier options listed above are certainly the most popular, but they’re hardly the only ones out there. Smaller carriers, such as Straight Talk or Virgin Mobile, offer more flexibility in their plans so that they better reflect your needs as well as your budget.
- Pay attention to your data usage and plan. It’s easy to purchase unlimited data and then simply check out. Unfortunately, this is the most costly and careless thing you can do with your mobile phone plan. You can avoid burning a data-sized hole in your pocket by buying into a family plan with a group of other people, choosing a plan with a limited amount of data and sticking to the limits, and using Wi-Fi connectivity as much as possible.
- Try prepaid plans and phones.A prepaid phone certainly does not offer the freedom or control of a standard mobile phone plan, but for those individuals that only need limited capabilities and are committed to cutting costs, this is the right choice. You could even get a prepaid phone with unlimited talk and text—but with only Wi-Fi capabilities—for a measly $12 a month (Nerd Wallet).
Mobile Phone Savings: Deciding What’s Best For You
There is no right decision here. Whether you buy a mobile in Pakistanor any other part of the world, how you handle your mobile phone costs simply depends on your financial situation and personal goals. Still, hopefully the numbers above regarding lifetime costs of mobile phones will help you realize that your smartphone is not simply a monthly payment to be ignored; it’s a significant financial burden. As such, this expense should be regarded with as much thoughtfulness as the purchase of a car or the selection of a stock portfolio.
Harris is a wantrepreneur and firm believer in Blockchain and Crypto currency. He’s a problem solver and a finance specialist who wants to be able to lead the Pakistani E commerce market with dedication and passion. Harris currently writes for Cellistan.com and has a keen interest of the economy and how financial technology is constantly changing the world. He’s a kind-hearted person who enjoys life.