Cellphone service without signing on the dotted line

Source: Alina Tugend - The N.Y. Times (Paid Registration)

Last month, I upgraded my son’s cellphone — something he had looked forward to with breathless anticipation ever since his last cellphone drowned in a California pool over the summer.

One of several wireless services to offer prepaid plans on smartphones. Nearly a third of wireless customers are expected to have prepaid phones by 2015.

He paid $150 of his hard-earned money for his choice model. But I couldn’t help feeling annoyed and slightly ripped off, as the salesman asked us to pay a $35 upgrade fee, made sure we understood that we would have to put up additional money for the new phone until the rebate came through and then tried to sell us things like cases and new data plans.

But I also felt that I had no other option than to pay all the costs and sign up for another two-year contract.

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