CUB: Most smartphone customers paying for unused data

July 26, 2011

(Flickr/Nobihaya Hayashi)

The Citizens Utility Board says smartphone customers in Illinois could be paying over $300 dollars each year for data they don't use. CUB analyzed 19,000 cell phone bills over the last three years and found 70 percent of customers were paying for unused services.

CUB Executive Director Dave Kolata said most smartphone users only use one-quarter of the data they pay for -- and major cell phone carriers like Verizon Wireless are to blame.

"When you realize that 96 percent of consumers are using two gigabytes and below, and yet two gigabytes is the typical plan, it raises a lot of questions about fairness," he said.

According to Kolata, major carriers don't offer plans that suit the usage levels of most consumers. He said CUB will propose three reforms to cellphone companies: creating a lower tier data plan, offering a family shared data plan and offering rollover data.

Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Caroline Shaumburger said customers have a variety of options to choose from.