Do you know how much your smartphone is actually costing you? I didn’t

Hidden Smartphone Costs
Hidden Smartphone Costs

Do you know how much your smartphone costs you, I mean actually costs you? Until yesterday I didn’t. Until yesterday I didn’t much think about the price of that slab of plastic in my pocket.

In the past year I spent €802.14 ($1028.50) maintaining my phone. That’s €442.14 ($566.91) more than I thought I was spending, and every single cent came from my decision to buy into the smartphone lifestyle.

Before I looked at the numbers I believed that I was quite the frugal smartphone owner. I’m on a good rate with my carrier that gives me 2GB of data, 100 minutes, and 100 SMS for €30 ($38.47) a month. Other operators in this market charge €55 ($70.52) per month for similar deals.

By simple calculation, if I used my phone within the strict confines of the contract I’d be spending €360 ($461.59) a year running my phone – not a bad deal for a device that gives me constant Internet and quick access to friends and family. But in the past 12 months I’ve never just spent €30 a month – my average bill has been $37.50 each month.

My habit of sending one too many SMS and talking for longer than I should (occupational risk) means that in the past 12 months I spent €449.49 ($576.34) on carrier charges – that’s €80.49 ($103.20) more than I thought.

Your carrier’s bill isn’t the only expense that comes with owning a smartphone, what about charging it? According to Lifehacker it costs between €0.32 for an iPhone, and €0.41 for a Galaxy SIII ($0.41 and $0.53) to fully charge a smartphone.  Since I tend to charge my phone at night and I own an SIII that means that just using my device cost me €149.65 ($191.88) in the past year.

But that’s not just it. Apart from the cost of using the phone there’s also the wider smartphone lifestyle that adds to the expense.  One off costs like that car charger and phone covers (€15/$19) and Bluetooth keyboards, €25/$32.05 (an occupational requirement) contribute to the cost: not much, but it all adds up.

As the smartphone market has matured so too have the type and number of peripherals available. External speakers like hands-free kits or, in my case, Jawbone Jambox are common expenses. My Jambox set me back €163 ($209), and that’s without the added expense of charging the device.

And these aren’t the only expenses; you can add smartphone insurance, damage repairs, new earphones (‘cos the ones that come with your phone are never any good) or any other kind of expenses, add ons, or extras that the market can devise.

So, when you’re using your smartphone consider this, it’s costing you more than you think. The question is, do you know how much?


  1. pdscott i really don’t want to know how much i spend. If you factor in apps as well i now know why i’m permanently broke.

    1. JulieDil I was surprised how much it cost me – far more than I was expecting and I’m sure there’s some things that I’ve forgotten about =/

      1. pdscott why would you figure it out?? I prefer denial. Also whatsapp helps a lot with the texting. At least u dont have 2 phones 😀

        1. pdscott well if im reading that right then it already has your info from other users so there’s no point not using it!- i love my logic 😀

  2. pdscott this is why i cant have nice things. Plus i haven’t used my allotted mins, sms, or data in months. I pay €61.50 a month for it all.

      1. pdscott Meteor. 5GB data, 400texts to all networks, 400 mins, and free meteor calls and texts. No EU roaming

        1. pdscott I actually ran over it twice. Although that was just after my surgery and I was confined to bed. Now, never.

    1. paddy2k but I forgot apps… too much chocolate over the weekend. But honestly Vodafone is mucho expensive

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).