Perhaps phone companies really ARE evil, don't know.
But here's the way some of this works as a business:
1. Spectrum auctions (and landlords charging for antenna locations) are economically perfect mechanisms to drive the business case for wireless services to nearly non-existence. Spectrum auctions almost necessarily push telcos to pay nosebleed prices, just to participate. (The UK auctions were manically unhinged: they had a rider saying that BT would lose its GSM license unless it bought 3G spectrum. In consequence BT just about *had* to pay whatever it took, just to stay in business.) Auctions are not about valuing assets, they're a hidden tax. The cost of equipment is not nearly as critical a cost factor as the cost of cell sites (~100,000 per major carrier in the US) and the spectrum; both lack competitive supply/demand forces to contain them.
Likewise, landlords are armed with economic models and consultants that drive every last red cent out of business models too. Hey, that's how business works.
The cost of equipment is not nearly as critical a cost factor as the cost of cell sites (~100,000 per major carrier in the US) and the spectrum; both lack competitive supply/demand forces to contain them. Operating networks with tens of thousands of nodes in the USA's large landmass ain't cheap.
2. Along come smartphones and these and and apps, (and misleading marketing) create soaring basic demand;
3. Bloated apps (Skype, ugh), IP and (e.g.) the Van Jacobsen quickstart algorithm then take said traffic and inherently drive it to network saturation.
So: perhaps telco execs are satanic, let's get pitchforks and blazing torches.
But, the economics and technical dynamics of the marketplace are in inherent conflict. US gov't policies are at least as much to blame. And so are landlords.
The analysis can get much deeper - but without revealing a useful solution for the US, alas.