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Five ways cellphone companies could get better

CellChain_fbCUB is all about consumer choice, and we think the cellphone industry is in need of a makeover. Here are a few changes we’d like to see:

1. Pay-for-what-you-use data pricing. We’ve already told you about how badly smartphone customers are overpaying on bloated data plans. A key remedy would be to offer plans where customers pay only for the data they actually use each month, rather than a fat monthly fee for data they never use. We’ve created a petition you can send to your wireless carrier to ask for these plans.

2. No-contract plans. A few companies such a T-Mobile have embraced this trend, but we hope to see larger carriers do so as well. No-contract plans offer similar services to the traditional two-year plans, without locking you in.

3. Transferrable phones. Too many customers run into an expensive problem as they try to switch carriers and save: Their current, working phone won’t function on the new network. This means they have to purchase a new phone, even when the new device appears identical to the old one (looking at you, Mr. iPhone).

4. Rollover data. Seems like the companies can handle rollover minutes and texts just fine, so why not data? According to CTIA, the wireless industry group, the majority of smartphone users only use 800MB per month–less than the 1GB or 2GB typical for many data plans. Wouldn’t it be great if the extra data didn’t just disappear?

5. Stop cramming at the source. Cramming–or fraudulent third-party fees that show up on your bill–really needs to stop. We’d like to see the cellphone companies work with federal regulators on tougher rules to stop the practice. And it would be nice to see the industry take steps to create the kind of quick-response security system that the credit card industry has created to combat fraud. It sure would increase customer appreciation and support!

Have ideas on how cellphone companies can improve? Let us know in the comments!