Charges for Itemized Cellular Telephone Bills

RCED-93-214FS: Published: Sep 21, 1993. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on cellular service carriers' billing practices, focusing on: (1) the average monthly charges for detailed billing in large cellular markets; (2) the detailed billing practices of large cellular carriers; and (3) whether the cost of service determines the charge for detailed billing.

GAO found that: (1) of the 60 cellular telephone markets reviewed, 32 of the licensed cellular carriers have required some of their customers to pay extra charges for detailed billing; (2) some cellular carriers charge an average of $3.65 a month for detailed billing; (3) of the 11 largest cellular carriers, 7 have required consumers to pay extra for detailed billing; (4) cellular carriers in the lowest-cost cellular markets are twice as likely to charge extra for detailed billing than carriers in large cellular markets; (5) in the 30 largest cellular markets, the lowest monthly charge for 150 minutes of calls averages about $84; (6) in markets that charge less than $84 per month for cellular services, one or both of the licensed carriers charge extra for detailed billing; and (7) in six of the markets that charge more than $84 for 150 minutes of use, one or both of the licensed cellular carriers charge extra for detailed billing.

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