The One In Which Dane Discusses AT&T Service Plans for Five Hundred Words, Much To Everyone’s Dismay

Well shucks. I was just about ready to toss my first-generation iPhone down a well, until I dug a bit further into how much this new service plan was going to cost me.

All I can say is, ouch.

Right now I’ve got 450 anytime minutes and 5,000 night-and-weekend minutes for $39.99 a month. In addition I have my iPhone data plan, which includes 200 text messages, for $20 a month. Finally, I do a lot of dialing across multiple time zones, and so to keep those long family conversations from bankrupting my lavish estate I have early nights and weekends for an extra $8.99 a month.

This comes to a grand monthly total of $68.98, or approximately $72 after those bullshit fees. The last I heard we had finally finished paying off the Spanish American War, and so the phone companies have been quietly rewriting their terms and conditions such that they are no longer charging you recovery fees for the taxes they incur, but service fees for whatever the hell they want. It was this breach of contract that allowed me to duck out of my Sprint contract back in January 2008 and avoid their $200 early termination fee.

So. The data plan for the iPhone 3G bumps everything up an extra $10 a month to $30. Now, from what I’ve heard 3G is pretty freakin’ amazing compared to EDGE, but unfortunately I never seem to live or recreate in a place that supports 3G (San Francisco, of course, being a civilized anomaly in my trek through the backwaters of America).

Thus, for my purposes it would be an extra $10 a month for the privilege of potentially enjoying a service that I will never get to use. Now, I do get other amazing things with an iPhone 3G S, such as GPS and voice control and more storage space and a compass and a faster CPU and a non-recessed headphone jack, but it hardly seems prudent that I should reward AT&T on a monthly basis for enjoying a set of features that has nothing to do with their service.

What’s more, I would have to pay an extra $5 a month to get the 200 text messages that are currently included in my (cheaper) data plan. Now, I don’t text much, but I find it indispensable when coordinating with friends, or sharing short bursts of information that don’t require a proper phone call. Indeed, it is criminal that they charge money for something that rides as heavy as a hobo fart on the network’s backchannel and costs them nothing to support. That said, if I have to pay for texting I want a flat rate, as the last thing I want to think about when I’m composing a text is whether or not it’s worth 25 cents.

I have been with AT&T long enough that I qualify for the $199 pricing on the new phone. The question is, then, how enthusiastic I am about getting burned for an extra $180 a year for the same mobile service that I currently enjoy (as 3G does not yet penetrate the windswept mountaintops and tree villages that I typically inhabit). To put it in perspective, that’s a monthly payment I could spend on hosting my intertubes at Media Temple.

Which. If things go as planned, both these expenditures might well be worth their while.

In other news, I wrote my first iPhone app today.


  1. June 9, 2009 – 12:05 am


    People have warned me about the iPhone’s pricing… that’s sad…

    I (and my wife) have a sweet deal with Sprint that no longer exists – $30 = data + 450 any + unlimited texting.

    While our phones are subpar (winMo), we get the same juicy 3G fat pipe that everyone else does.

    Unfortunately it seems every phone change that you do via sprint might cause you to have to upgrade your plan… I’m hoping on avoiding that.


  2. Sarah
    June 9, 2009 – 7:37 am

    Hm, perhaps the European phone model might have some merit. Pay up front for a phone, then shop the service providers for the service plan. More competition, less customer manipulation? Not to mention, people might keep their phones longer. I know, a sustainable business model – how un-American.