YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) â Are you paying too much for your mobile phone bill?
First News took a look how some people are cutting their bills in half.
When it came time to pick a phone for her new business, Massage Therapist Sherri Wintjen skipped the land line. She even skipped the traditional wireless companies, going for a no-contract phone through Virgin Mobile.
âItâs important for me to have a good, stable texting system, because my business needs to be quiet,â she said. âI donât need the phone ringing during the time that a client is here with me.â
The service has been great so far, and she says the price is great for starting a business.
âYou do have to buy your own phone, so itâs an output, but they do have to have them ranging between $40 and $300, so itâs whatever your budget is comfortable with,â she said.
The savings come from using a generic cell phone service over a name-brand one. Although the carriers use the same network, the bill for one is $100 a month while another is $45.
Companies like Virgin Mobile, FreedomPop and GoPhone Lease Network access from companies like Sprint. Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T, but provides much cheaper access to the same network. Carriers like Net10 and Walmart’s Straight Talk have Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile network options.
Stephen Stokols, founder of Freedom Pop â by Skype, said he believes some of the major cell phone carriers are price gouging their customers.
âWe got started because of the premise that carriers were gouging consumers and data voice and text was overpriced, and new technology, like OTT technology like WhatsApp, should lead the way,â he said.
OTT, or over-the-top technology, allows consumers to access content through internet-connection devices, such as laptop computers, gaming consoles and smartphones. OTT allows customers to view film and TV content via the internet, without a subscription to traditional cable or satellite pay-TV services.
In the same way, one of the most popular plans on FreedomPop is free.
âObviously, on a free plan, youâre paying zero,â Stokols said. âOver half our customers donât pay us a penny from month to month.â
FreedomPop handles the customer service and Sprint gets the money. That turns into a win for customers.
âOver the last couple years, weâve really seen a big change when it comes to prepaid wireless,â said Jay Miglionico, manager for prepaid wireless sales at Sprint.
Prepaid and no-contract phones are growing. Industry insiders say 10 percent of American mobile customers have left traditional contracts and are going for cheaper plans.
Miglionico said its easy to see why.
âThe plans are much more competitive than the contract carriers that are out there, and the lease carriers that are out there, like AT&T, Verizon, Spring and T-Mobile,â he said.
Ash Salman owns 16 Boost Mobile stores in Youngstown. He says prepaid phones are a great fit for the area, and he plans to expand.
âYou donât have to sign up for a contract, being able to get the great service,â he said. âUnlimited, 4G coverage, being able to pick between 20-30 different phones and not having to be in a long-term plan,â he said. âThatâs the ideal phone plan.â
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