In response to fears that wireless prices will rise after the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, responded that after 5 big mergers in the past 10 years, "Telecom prices have dropped by more than 50 percent." and that "AT&T's price for one megabyte of data has dropped by 90 percent over the past four years." He added customers are paying more because they're using more. So it was time to get out my calculator.
Most members of my family are not big wireless users and the cost of a minimum number of minutes over the past 5 years has risen from $30 to $40. Adding a few useful App's has added an additional $2 to $6 a month. These Apps formerly just used minutes, now they're a separate charge. Next is the use of data. Data was also allowed at a per minute rate but are now charged in blocks from $2 to $60 per month. How about 411 calls? They were once .69 per call, now they can be $2 each.
I agree we are using more Apps and other services but the carriers have found a way to make more money from our desire to choose other than just chocolate and vanilla. Those of us at the bottom of the wireless food chain who take small bites of these additional services are now easily paying more than double what we were paying as few as 3 years ago. Our prices have not dropped 50% even though our usage has changed very little. Of course, those of us using gobs of broadband are indeed watching the price drop, but it's competition that's keeping these top-paying customers around. By my calculations, the lower and middle classes appear to be paying 50 to 100% more.
Where is Ralph getting his data? By looking at the bills of his top wireless users? We'll do what we can: watch for more articles here on how to get your wireless costs back under control, hopefully with a choice of 4 major wireless carriers in the years to come.