I have been reading a lot lately about how the cellular phone companies are doing away with their their old cell plans. When I first got my cell phone there was really no plan. I was with Bell Atlantic Mobile and paid about $50/month and $.99/minute. Period. Oh and roaming cost me extra as well. That phone lived in the trunk of my car, had a whip antenna and a goose neck pole to hold the receiver within arms reach. It had speaker phone so I have always been hands free. I felt like I was Mannix calling my secretary Peggy to find out where my next ‘lead’ was going to take me.
Then to draw more people into the game they developed monthly plans. Phones were subsidized if you had a two year contract and you paid different rates depending on which plan you had. Along came text messaging if you wanted to pay for it. By the way, text messages are carried on the signal that is constantly sent between your phone and the nearest cell tower making it 100% profit for the cell companies. This worked well for years until the invention of the ‘smart phone’. Yes now we could pay to talk, text, and surf the internet or check email. This caught on like wild fire and soon more people had cell phones then people had landlines. Next came a great idea. Charge for Data only and give the other stuff away FREE. The real money was in using mobile data. The younger generation mostly texts, which costs the cell companies nothing, and we old folks were getting more and more used to mobile computing, texting, and talking on our cell phones.
In my house it got to the point that when the landline rang no one even would even answer it. At dinner one night I complained that I was the only one answering the phone in the house. Well my sons pointed out to me that if anyone wanted them they would text or call their cell phones so what was the point? I shook my head and agreed. So now our landline is hooked to the fax machine and the only people that call it are creditors or sales people trying to get me to buy a Time Share or something. Bazinga. Pay for Data, have a monthly access fee, and no more subsidized phones. Add a tablet or two and now we have a multi zillion dollar industy. Don’t believe me? Google it. You’ll see.
So what is next you ask. I’ll tell you. Cable TV Companies will one day give away TV and phone lines for free and charge us just a monthly access fee and the Data. As their market in television begins to shrink more and more due to Netflix, Hulu, and networks get tired of being charged more each year to have their shows carried we will see the industry change. People will pay for sports programming on Netflix or a subscription fee to their favorite team to stream the games. Also most televisions are internet ready now.
So never mind fighting with them over a la carte programming. Start figuring out how much data you use a month because that is how we will pay for our information, and entertainment, email, etc.
Postscript: I went out and bought my son Chromecast for his television because he mostly watches shows on Netflix on his 15″ laptop screen and the TV was collecting dust. Now he can give his eyes a rest and watch on a big screen. And now my wife and I have discovered Netflix and we each have our own shows we watch, when we want to. The future is today, just the pricing package needs to change.