Many of us today have to question the need for a home phone line. It seems to be an expense we can do without. It’s a lot like insurance – we pay a lot of money for something that we rarely, if ever, use. If you have a cell phone, why would you also need a home phone?
A home phone still has some merit. If you have a family, especially with younger children that aren’t ready for their own cell phones, a home phone provides some comfort and security. It’s nice to be able to call home rather than going through your list of cell phone numbers of other family members. And, if there is an emergency at the house, it’s more likely you’re going to reach for the home phone. A home phone still has an advantage when it comes to 911.
So, if I’d like to have a home phone, what is the price at which it makes economic sense? I suppose that number can be different depending on your economic status. For many low income families, that number is very low. But, there is a way for those families to get cheap home phone service. Lifeline is a federal government assistance program that provides a discount on your residential phone service. For those that qualify, it will reduce your bill by about $10. It may now seem like much of a discount but if you get just a basic line without all the additional features, you can get that monthly payment under twenty dollars per month. This may be enough to justify that antique that sits on the table, rarely ever used.
Verizon updated their wireless plan offerings in 2012 to include data in their share plans. They made a point to say that they were giving their customers what they asked for. However, I think they missed the point. Actually, I’m sure they did not miss the point but rather they emphasized a point that didn’t make them look as bad.
Yes, Verizon customers were asking for shared data. I was even one of them. But, the reason I wanted shared data wasn’t so that I could split my data usage with my household, it was so that I could SAVE MONEY on my plan. I saw that in order to add a smart phone to my plan, I’d be required to take on a $30 per month increase. Then, to put my wife into a smart phone, I’d be looking at another $30 per month. I found that to be ridiculous. I’m already sharing minutes of talk time between our two phones, why couldn’t I share the data as well? But, in sharing the data, I would expect to NOT have to pay as much per month. Back when I started my data plans, I got unlimited data usage for my $30. Now, I don’t use very much data at all most of the time but, when I need to stream a movie or go through a bunch of pictures in the cloud, it’s nice to know I don’t have to worry about going over my allotment.
Enter Verizon’s new share everything plans. This sounds like what I was hoping for. Except for one thing – cost. For me to get rid of my unlimited data plans and switch to a shared data plan – of just 2GB of data, I’d have to PAY MORE than I’m paying now! How can that be? If I’m sharing the data, shouldn’t I get a break? Apparently not. The difference is that instead of sharing a limited number of talk time, I’d have unlimited talk time. Well, this isn’t something I need. I barely use 300 minutes of talk time a month. Obviously Verizon knows this and that’s why they’re willing to give me all the talk time I want. It’s the data that they want to throttle down. So, here we go again where the big wireless company is coming up with ways to squeeze more money out of their customers and provide less service. Shouldn’t they try to make their customers happy? Shouldn’t they try to deliver more service for less money? I guess not. As long as they have the best network available, they can afford to treat their customers dirty.
I’m holding on tight to my unlimited data plan for as long as I can. I know that one day I’ll be forced to give it up and pay more for less. When that day comes, I’ll have little reason to stay with Verizon. I’m hoping that the other networks become more reliable with better coverage so that the competition can be more evenly matched. Until then, Verizon customers will keep getting abused and asking for more.