For buyers, the last two decades have produced tremendous gains in utility, while prices essentially have remained flat. That might remind you of Moore’s Law, and the insight is largely correct.
By way of comparison, look at prices for other “utility-like” services, including water, wastewater, electricity, natural gas or postal service, since 1984.
From a buyer or consumer perspective, telecommunications has been a great bargain: prices have barely budged since 1997. Prices for all the other products have climbed. Water and sewer service prices nearly doubled since 1997.
Prices for most of the other products have grown, but less substantially. Telecommunications service, despite the many improvements in quality and features (mobility, internet access, distance-insensitive voice and messaging), prices per unit have been flat.
That reflects huge productivity improvements, and lots more competition than arguably has happened in the other businesses.