As most have heard, cell phone plans around the globe are not all the same. Some have even said that cell phone plans in the US are more costly than those in many other countries. The reasons provided are many but one of course is that nations such as Canada and the US are larger and many people live more remotely than in most European countries or Japan for instance, thus the costs for the infrastructure are greater.

One of the common points made, is that in countries such as Japan, Russia, most of Europe, China, and Australia, cell phone plans do not charge customers for incoming calls where as the majority of US cellular providers appear to be double charging calls by billing for the outgoing call and an incoming call. Whether a caller and a receiver of the call pay in cash or in minutes, two charges for a single call seems unwarranted to many consumers in view of the long standing history of billing for landline calls in which only the calling party pays when per call charges apply.

Of course, the angst over the topic is only intensified when not only wrong numbers can be dialed but even telemarketing calls could potentially sneak through with the customer being socked with the charge. Despite these concerns however, it is still unclear if indeed the cell phone plans in the US are actually more costly than their counterparts abroad.

Cell phone plans which offer unlimited nights and weekends and free nationwide long distance are predominate in the US, although this is not so in many other countries which may help balance out the difference in how incoming calls are handled. In addition, more recent cell phone plan offerings are beginning to change the face of how services are billed in this country giving users more flexibility and greater use without increased cost.

Two examples are cell phone plans which offer “free incoming” plans and those which offer unlimited calling to a user’s circle of most commonly called numbers both of which offer greater savings. Free incoming plans offer exactly what their name implies, unlimited inbound calls from anywhere in the country, at any time in addition to nationwide long distance and unlimited nights and weekends. However, the plans generally restrict these free incoming calls from those within the same network. Sprint, for instance, allows free inbound calling from anyone in the Sprint PCS or Nextel Network.

Nextel on the other hand provides similar plans with the addition of no roaming fees and unlimited direct connect for those who can use the walkie/talkie function with other Nextel users.

Other fairly recent introductions in the US market are cell phone plans that provide unlimited calling to a list of “favorites” or most commonly called numbers. T-Mobile “MyFavs” plans allow users to create a list of their 5 “favorites”. The most attractive part of these plans is that the favorites can be in any network, or even a landline, offering less restrictive guidelines and greater freedom in using free calling time. Users are even allowed to change their favorites list monthly and for those with a family plan, the various members of the family can have their own personal favorites list providing additional flexibility.

Cell phone plans in the US often require commitments of two years and are a significant expense for users. However, with the proliferation of plans which offer unlimited nights and weekends, free nationwide long distance and now the introduction of plans with free incoming calls and unlimited calling to lists of frequent contacts, some cell phone plans in the US may offer more economical choices which their overseas cousins may envy.

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Christine Peppler, the author, invites readers to learn more about cell phone plans by visiting

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