By Ben Patterson (March 15, 2006) (Updated: July 14, 2007)
So you got your cell phone bill for the month and zipped it open, only to receive a rude shock when you saw the total. What's this--double the amount it was last time? Is there a mistake? Did you make a three-hour call to Hong Kong? Do identity thieves have your account information in their vile clutches?
Unfortunately, finding the answer in your bill isn't easy, as we're sure you've discovered. Even those with relatively simple cell plans can wind up with bills that are 5 or 10 pages long, with confusing sections and subsections, arcane terminology, and tricky details. Your billing scenario will change dramatically if you have a regional calling plan vs. a nationwide setup, then there's the issue of data and text-messaging plans. Do you make any roaming calls or dial up your friends while traveling abroad? It can all add up to a pricey month. To discover how your $39.99 monthly plan can translate to $59.99, read on to see a typical wireless carrier bill.