Posted by: Craig Mathias
cell phones, cellular handsets, cellular service, smartphones
One of the more frustrating aspects of buying any high-tech, and especially consumer-electronics, product is that the price will be lower only moments after you sign the credit-card receipt. Inflation does not apply as a consideration in personal electronics; with the possible exception of exotic, high-end A/V gear, whatever you buy will be essentially worthless within a few months.
This is especially true of cellular handsets, where models change every 15 minutes by law, but they’re getting very cheap to begin with. I mentioned last time that there are two-for-one handset deals around these days, and Verizon Wireless is heavily promoting theirs. Assuming you are already a customer and renewing for another two years, you can get two BlackBerry Curve 8530s, a very respectable handset indeed, for free. If you’re not already a customer, the price increases to a whopping $29.99. You can also get two of the very nice Droid ERISes or Palm Pixi Pluses for that same $29.99.
Get the idea that money spent on most handsets is inconsequential? It is – because, remember, you’re making a two-year commitment and the full price of the handset is in there somewhere. The good news is that service prices have, much to my surprise, I must admit, fallen significantly lately, in response to both the recession and heavy-duty competition across the board. Verizon’s unlimited talk plans are down to around $70, and unlimited data to around $30. So, for $100 a month, talk, e-mail and surf to your heart’s content – and note you can do all of this on Sprint for only around $70/month – what was that I was saying about competition? BTW, I am a Verizon customer because I’ve found their network to have the best coverage and reliability. If there were an iPhone from Verizon, I’d seriously consider that – but there are problems with the iPhone that, even as a Mac user, still give me pause. And the iPhone (new models undoubtedly on the way here as well) will remain relatively expensive, because of supply and demand. More on the iPhone later.
In the meantime, though, the low prices on cellular handsets and service might enable you to drop your landline altogether. Does that make sense for an SMB today? More on that next time.