International Cell Phone Network (cell min vs. unit)

It is 2009, and time to fix the problem of cell phone companies. It most likely needs no explanation, since everyone, and I mean everyone has been screwed by their cell phone company at least once, but more than likely multiple times. I’m not just talking about them doing something unfavorable directly, but indirectly as well. I will be more focused on indirectly here, but feel free to vent your direct instances in the comments below. 🙂 What do I mean by indirectly? How is that possible? Well, look at your bill, pretty high isn’t it? Doesn’t really seem to be a fair price does it, for what you are getting. I am kind of getting off on a tangent from what the overall point of this post is, but it ties into what I am going to expressing soon, I swear!

So as far as the “fairness” of bills go, I want to pick on a couple of sections in particular. Minutes, Data, ETF, and Text messages.

Ok, now lets get into it. It is now 2009, and cell phones are now the defacto standard for communication for a lot of people. More and more people are dropping land lines in favor of cell phones, for many reasons: cost, ease of use, and convenience. This is great except when you look at what you are getting for the price you are paying. It seems to me that every part of the cell phone market is advancing except the business model of the “providers”. (Well battery technology isn’t keeping up either, but we can talk about that another time.) I don’t think that you can argue that cell phone providers aren’t working together to keep profits at a maximum, with little care given to the consumer. Arguments can be made that the minutes are “fair” but when it comes to data (which as a user group has exploded in recent years) we are getting ripped off big time! Generally as much as $60 a month. Along with this $60/month, we used to get truly unlimited data, not bad right? Well now that we as consumers are actually using the data, there is now a cap of 5GB in most if not all cases, so they can tack on some of their outrageous overage fees on us, just like with minutes.

Lets also not forget the, what should be illegal, act of charging you a fee to stop doing business with their company!? Sure sounds like extortion to me! Ever heard of a protection racket? Exactly. You have to pay off a lot of people (lobby much?) to have the ability to charge customers a fee for wanting to leave your terrible company. The worst part about it, is that they all do it, and they are all for the most part, equally terrible. What makes it worse is that they seem to all be in communication with each other and appear to be price fixing, simply because they can. One company charges X for a service, the next week, the other company changes the same. Where is the competition? What happened to earning customers’ loyalty through great service, instead of an extortion fee?

Finally, and the reason behind this writing, we as people are becoming more international, we are finding the need to have our phone work wherever we are at any given moment in time. Between the grossly expensive “international plans” and poor interoperability between carriers, this is no easy task. I am proposing we change from the old model of minutes to a newer model that is more aligned with our global society: units. For this example I will say that my Home Zone is the United States. The system works like this:

You will have a designated “Home Zone” which is the country where you will be primarily using your phone. You will purchase a plan from your carrier, but instead of getting lets say 1000 minutes per month, you receive 1000 units. Now with that said, when you make a call in your Home Zone, you will be assessed 1 Unit for every minute of talk time. Fairly straight forward so far right? Here is where the magic happens. Keep in mind your Home Zone is the United States, now you want to go to London. Normally you would have to either pay outrageously expensive roaming charges OR with this new way of doing business you simply pay (in units) the rate (in units) for that country, or Zone. So for instance lets say there is an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom that when users come from the US to the UK, they will be assessed 1.5 Units/Min. Now, without any pain to the customer, all the customer has to do is travel to their destination, turn their phone on and make a call. Units will be deducted from their balance.

Worldwide, carriers already have agreements in place for roaming, so why not simplify the process for everyone? Now I know this would mean the poor phone companies, who are living in the past, would not be raping the profits that they are now, which is why this idea will never come to fruition. But just think of the possibilities of a truly worldwide cell phone network, the possibilities are endless.

I would love to hear any additions or comments you have about this idea. Throw them down below in the comments section.

Thanks everyone, enjoy your txt messages that are $1000’s/MB. 🙂


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