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Why Are cell phone so expensive in the US?

December 20, 2007

After my trip to London last year, I found the easiest way to keep in contact with people is with a cell phone. Unfortunately for Americans, our cell phones do not work well in Europe. Not only are they the wrong MHz, but I found it was cheaper and easier to buy another cell phone and use a European data plan. It's far cheaper and easier than trying to get an American carrier to support your phone in Europe. Voice Mail doesn't work well and since you are out of your primary calling area, the rates are terrible.

So when I went to Paris with a group of people in April, I purchased a Nokia 1600 cell phone for under 40 Euros. What amazed me is the fact that the Nokia phone was far better than my older model. It has better features, So I decided to use it in the US. The cell phone did not work (wrong MHz band), but no big deal, I decided to buy a new one.

Thats when I discovered another horrible reality. Americans are being gouged for cell phones in the US. I do mean gouged.

The same cell phone I purchased in Europe through AT&T costs $129 in the US, with a two-year contract. Without the contract it was $249.00. You can buy the same phone on Amazon (unlocked), for $129! Actually, its on sale for $77!

I passed on the phone through AT&T.

I am still looking for a way to get a cheap phone in the US without a two-year contract because I want flexibility. I want the same cheap phones I can buy in Paris and I want the same cheap data plan.

I am not a cheapskate, I simply do not appreciate being unfairly gouged. It would be like buying gasoline in the US at $10.00 a gallon and being told the rest of the world pays more, but then when you find out the rest of the world actually pays far less. In the cell phone world, this truly is the case. We have limited choices, we have terrible pricing and we have no alternative!

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