Cell phone billing burdens students

After the latest unveiling of the iPhone 4S, wireless companies couldn’t wait to announce their so-called valuable rate plans: $199 for an iPhone 4S, $99 for an iPhone 4 8GB and an iPhone 3GS 8GB for free. These prices may be getting you excited, but looks can be deceiving.

Students are usually surprised about their monthly mobile payment.

“Even if I don’t often use my net data on my phone, my monthly payments for my iPhone 4 are usually over $100,” junior Elvi Shi complained.

Most UM students have faced a similar situation.

Wireless companies can give you hundreds of reasons to explain their charging methods and viewing your billing history is amongst the most common. Meanwhile, the so-called billing history consists of hundreds of different numbers you have to calculate in order to get the accurate payment.

This takes way too much time for a college student juggling class, homework and bills.

Wireless companies go as far as charging someone for data they didn’t even use. When phones get stolen and the person who now has your phone was able to buy some music and apps, do you think they edit your bill? No.

Junior Yunhan Ranwho lost her phone last month and was charged more than $1,000, even though she told the company her phone had been misplaced.

“I tried to negotiate with the wireless company, but they told me that they are not responsible to find who was using the phone and every charge is based on billing history only,” Ranwho said. “I was very angry.”

Students have been concerned with their monthly mobile payment for a while now. Cell phones are a part of our daily lives and it’s time for wireless companies to pay more attention to students and make plans more economical, not to mention make billing history details reader-friendly.


Jing Xu is a junior majoring in public relations and economics.