Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why I don't hate AT&T like so many do

I sent this to Gruber at DF this morning, but I thought it was worthy of converting to a blog post as well. Hence the tone. But otherwise the points here are very useful, and also put into perspective just how much wireless voice and data costs nowadays (thank goodness it's cheaper!)

I own an IT company with 5 employees. Right now, just to take my own requirements, here's what I have today (not counting texting, which should be almost free everywhere but isn't):

- iPhone unlimited voice plan = $70 (they cut that price from $100 a few months back, remember?)
- iPhone data plan = $30
- Verizon data plan with a USB stick and a spare router in my bag = $60 (which I rarely use but I keep as an insurance policy in case I need to work on the road)
- iPad 200MB plan - $15

So right now I'm spending $175 on voice and data, just for what I carry in my bag. I just barely bumped into the limit on the iPad, and I only used 245MB of data on my iPhone in the heaviest month out of the last six. I only use a few hundred MB on Verizon at most per month. Under the new plans, here's what I'll do now:

- iPhone unlimited voice plan = $70
- iPhone 2GB data plan = $25
- Tethering for iPhone = $20
- iPad 250MB plan = $15

So that'll reduce my bill to $130, saving me $45 per month for starters. Plus I can ditch about a pound's worth of gear from my backpack (the Zoom mobile router, charger, and the USB stick), and I get an extra 50MB buffer for my iPad. Even if I need to go to the 2GB plan for my iPad, it's still a net savings of $35. This is so much a no-brainer that it's silly.

Now add to that my wife's iPhone which she mostly uses for email, Facebook updates, and checking weather. Putting her on the $15 data plan is an easy call - she doesn't even come close to consuming that much data outside the house. That saves me another $15 in our personal life.

And changing the plans for my iPhone-using employees? Again, a no-brainer. They haven't bought iPads yet, but I'll still save plenty of money on their accounts as well. All in all, this should save me a couple of thousand dollars per year. Would I like it if AT&T had made the "DataPro" plan 3GB instead of 2GB? Yep, it would be a little closer to what you supposedly get from Verizon and their 5GB cap, but on the other hand it's cheaper. I'm unlikely to blow past 2GB but I'm certain to not go past 3GB. Do I think tethering should be free or at most $10 additional, given how relatively rarely I'll use it? Yep.

But am I happy to have a big monolithic consumer-unfriendly phone company change their rule and plans in such a way that I'll save a lot of money every month? Hell yes I am. Not to mention that a few months ago that unlimited voice plan cost me $100 per month, not the $70 it costs me now. Altogether between just my plans and my wife's, as of next week I'll be saving $120 per month over what I was paying for the same services last fall.

And why again am I supposed to hate AT&T?