Most of us know by now that smartphones are costing us a lot more per month than the early mobile phones that hit the market in the 1990s, but how much are they really contributing to our monthly bills – and where is all this extra cost coming from? An American report by AccountingDegree.com looking into the price of the gadgets has just been released, highlighting a global trend in rising costs.
The technology inside a smartphone is incredibly advanced, so much so that many now have the same capabilities as many mid-range computers and laptops. Even in a survey carried out as part of the report, one in five people said they would happily give up their computer for a week in favour of their smartphone. These developments are impressive, but costly; the average phone costs about $96 (approx. £60) per year, while access to online downloads means that people are spending an extra annual $456 (that’s £284) on apps and entertainment. It’s not just the tech itself that makes them more expensive, though. Bills have consistently increased over the past ten years, to the point where the average American’s yearly bill is now over 300 per cent higher than in 2001 – to put that in perspective, all other household bills such as water and gas have risen by around two per cent.
With all of that to think about, it can seem completely impossible for anybody living on a budget to afford a good-quality smartphone. The rise has made it very difficult for consumers to get hold of the newest technology at affordable prices, an issue which is doubly frustrating thanks to the growing dependency many of us have on smartphones. No longer just a device for calling a friend on the move, these gadgets are now often our lifeline when we’re away from our home or our desk. Checking work e-mails, completing the weekly shop and even booking tickets and events can be done through a smartphone, which means that for those left without, life becomes just that little bit more complicated.
However, there is a great range out there, and by doing some research you can get some great deals online – a good way to find top-of-the-line models is to check out websites which offer refurbished phones, such as E2Save. These are usually better than simply buying it second-hand from a previous owner, as refurbishment includes clearing out, re-setting and rigorous testing to put it back to factory conditions. It also means there’s one less phone heading towards landfill, making it good for the Earth, too! In the UK you can easily find a good and relatively cheap plan, with plenty of data and minutes for around £20-30 per month. Keep your paid downloads to a minimum by streaming music and video from apps like Spotify and BBC iPlayer, and keep an eye on services such as free app trackers to ensure you don’t end up paying out more than you need to. This way, you can enjoy all the benefits of a premium phone, without the premium price tag!