In the past six years, cell phone plans have changed drastically on every major carrier.
Cell phone plans four years ago (2007) before the merger of Alltel with Verizon.
Verizon's prices are the same if data is not taken into consideration (Verizon Plan on Smartphone in 2007: Moto Q on Verizon plan $89.99 unlimited data, 450 minutes and 500 texts). Same package in the middle of 2011 = $89.99 with unlimited texts, but only 2 GB of data. Now Verizon has a sharable data plan, which really hurts individuals by making the cheapest plan $90 for a smartphone with only 1 GB of data. Same in 2013.
AT&T's prices have stayed the same if data is not taken into consideration (AT&T Plan on Smartphone in 2007: $69.99 iPhone Plan included 450 rollover minutes, 200 texts and unlimited Edge data). Same package 2011 = $74.99 but with only 2 GB of data. Same package 2012 is $89.99 but with unlimited texts and 3 GB of data. Same package in 2013 is the same as 2012.
T-Mobile's prices have rose around 10%, even without data prices (T-Mobile smartphone plan 2007 Blackberry Pearl plan: $59.99 with unlimited texts and unlimited data and 1000 minutes). 2011 same package = $89.99 (5 GB high speed data). 2012 same package is the same price, except now there is unlimited minutes. 2013 T-Mobile now has unlimited data and unlimited minutes and texts for $70. T-Mobile now has the best plan out of all the carriers.
Sprint's prices increased by 15% even without data. (Sprint Moto Q plan: $44.99 with unlimited data, unlimited texts and 500 minutes. Now same package = $79.99. In 2012, Sprint's prices have stayed the same. In 2013 for an individual plan it's $80, but now there are unlimited minutes and texts as well as data.
At this time (2007) AT&T was the number one cell provider in subscribers after Cingular purchased AT&T and then changed its name back to AT&T. Currently it is Verizon. It still is Verizon in 2012. Verizon still is in 2013, but I have a feeling there will be a shakeup.
So do mergers help keep prices down? Of course not, and that's why I hope the FCC quits allowing merges into the bigger carriers. Such as Cricket merging with AT&T (2013). Next year will be the year that Verizon will feel some consumer shakeup or at least I hope so.
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