July 2009 Archives

iPhone Lowers Your Phone Bill!

images-1.jpgI've had an iPhone for just over two years and just upgraded to the 3GS.  Over those two years, I've noticed an interesting trend -- my phone utilization for voice calls is down.  And, more importantly, the number of peak hour minutes (day time minutes that I get with my plan) that I use is WAY down.  What's up with this?

I hypothesize that SMS, email, Twitter, and Facebook are supplanting the voice calls for my choice of a communication medium.  Further, the iPhone, in comparison to my previous phone, a Razr, makes it much easier to message, email, tweet, and (update) Facebook.  So, I use these media channels a lot more.  And, consequently, I'm talking on the phone less.  I'm not sure if this is a particularly novel insight.

More interesting, I think the lower (day time) phone utilization is the (unintentional?) consequence of AT&T's exclusive relationship with Apple with respect to the iPhone.  This consequence is quite round-a-bout:  It turns out, that many of my friends bought iPhones and were forced to become AT&T Wireless customers.   Certainly, many more of the people I talk to regularly are iPhone users, and, hence AT&T Wireless subscribers. Second, in my plan, I have free "mobile to mobile" minutes."  So, for any call with someone who is also on the AT&T wireless network (e.g. iPhone users) does not result in a charge against my day time minutes.  Maybe this hasn't decreased the total amount of time I spend on the phone (maybe I talk even more) but it decreases the number of day time minutes that I use.

The accumulative effect of all of this:  The decrease in day time minutes was significant enough that it made sense for me to go to a cheaper plan.  Okay, it's only $20/month less, but for the cheapskate frugal nature in me, this makes me quite happy!

Now, when the exclusive arrangement between AT&T Wireless and Apple ends, this will probably change.  I'll enjoy it while I can...

Wow.  Buying an iPhone saves me money.  Never thought I'd say that!