Bills Bills Bills

Americans Are Paying Through the Nose for Smartphones

"Can you pay my bills, can you play my telephone bills?"
 Americans Are Paying Through the Nose for Smartphones

Expensive. (Wikipedia)

Americans’ smartphone bills are looking pretty onerous these days. How bad has it gotten? According to the Wall Street Journal, people are cutting back on dinners out and other such vices in order to sustain their ravenous Netflixing of Homeland episodes while waiting at the dentist’s office. And with carriers pushing back on unlimited data plans, matters are only getting worse.

According to the Journal, telephone spending per year is up $116 since 2007, whereas entertainment spending dropped $126 and eating out fell $48 (with no adjustments made for inflation). Also noted: people are spending less on landlines, so that’s an even bigger chunk of paychecks than it looks like.

And yet, those bills are only going upward. An example of the industry consensus:

“Speed entices more usage,” Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said at an investor conference last week, according to a transcript. “The more data they consume, the more they will have to buy.”

In fact, let’s quantify that real quick:

Streaming 30 minutes of video per day over a 4G connection and doing nothing else on her phone would cost Ms. Tuers roughly $120 a month on one of Verizon’s new data plans, according to the carrier’s website.

Unfortunately for the carriers, it’s not like consumers can just walk outside and pluck a few Benjamins off the old money tree.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com