Long-Term Cell Phone Contracts Lose Popularity in the US

July 18, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. long-term (adj.) 
[lawng-turm, long-] – covering a long period of time
Example: Laptops are generally not made for long-term use.

2. feature (n.) [fee-cher] – a part or a characteristic of a product
Example: The iPhone 4s has a feature called Siri, a program that responds to a person’s voice.

3. upgrade (v.) [uhp-greyd– to improve or make better
Example:  Apple decided to upgrade the iPhone 4’s camera so that users can take better pictures.

4. plan (n.) [plan] – an agreement or contract between a company providing services and the customer receiving these services
Example: Wireless companies offer affordable plans for customers who are on a budget and premier plans for customers who want more service features.

5. trend (n.) [trend] – direction taken by a popular way of thinking or behaving
Example: Because of the weak economy, the trend among consumers is towards buying products that give more value for their money.

Read the text below.

Seven major wireless US companies lost more than 50,000 long-term contract subscribers in only the first quarter of this year.

The rapid changes in cell phone technology is said to be one reason for the drop in the number of subscribers.  Cell phones used to have similar features to use for texting and calling. Nowadays, however, cell phones have numerous features that can be used to play music, take pictures, or surf the internet.

As phone features get upgraded with each release of new phone models, users develop an irresistible desire to have the latest model, an attitude experts call “upgrade envy”.

Unfortunately, being tied into a long-term contract prevents users to have the latest models.  As a result, many users find it more practical to switch to No-Contract plans or Prepaid plans.

Boost Mobile is one wireless company that offers Android smart phones under a no-contract plan. Under this plan, users can enjoy unlimited voice calls, texts, and Internet use for just $55 dollars a month, which is less than half of what someone on a long-term contract would pay.

In response to this shift in consumer trend, Verizon and AT&T, two of the biggest wireless companies in the US, are talking about a plan in which multiple devices, such as tablet computers and cell phones of other family members can all share in one monthly plan.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Which do you prefer, pre-pay plans, no-contract plans or long-term plans? Please explain the reasons for your preference.
·         Which plan would work best in your country? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         Do you approve of the habit of always keeping in trend with latest gadget models? Why or why not?
·         How can people save money while keeping in trend with technology?


July 18, 2012