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Oh, I agree less tricky plans and rules would be preferable... but I also understand how they profit the carriers, by serving to charge the price-indifferent and inattentive more.

Lots of AT&T practices screw me over -- most recently, being charged for calls that were never answered (but went to voicemail) while roaming overseas. But the availability of low-minute plans that fit my usage isn't one of the problems.

That those same low-minute plans trick others into paying overages? Not sure that can be helped. Those distracted by other things will always pay more.

Imposing fair disclosure or even a complexity budget on pricing by social regulation or unfair-practices lawsuits might make sense. But imposing a simplified/unified pricing on the industry is likely to backfire. The impetus to design competitive new services for niches -- like infrequent users, or heavy-data-users, etc. -- would be reduced, because innovation requires the same sort of variation that is exploited to confuse. And, regulated utilities can wind up extracting more from the rest of the economy in the long run from lingering inefficiencies and cost-plus regulated prices.




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