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New and old AT&T iPhone plans compared, cost increases detailed

post #1 of 139
Thread Starter 
With AT&T increasing data costs while simultaneously cutting text messages from its iPhone 3G plans, individual iPhone users upgrading to the 3G model will find themselves paying between 12.5% and 25% more to maintain the same level of service while FamilyTalk plan subscribers will likely see their costs rise anywhere from 8% to 27%. Included are some charts observations to help explain why. [Updated 9:00 p.m. Eastern with clarification on FamilyTalk SMS options and pricing.]

Individual Plans

All of AT&T's individual iPhone 3G calling plans have risen $10 when compared to those offered alongside the original iPhone. That's because AT&T is now charging $30 for the bundled unlimited data plans rather than $20, as it expects subscribers to increase their internet usage and throughput as a result of the new iPhone's 3G chip, which downloads about twice as fast as the EDGE chip in the original iPhone.

At the same time, however, AT&T has obnoxiously reduced the number of standard SMS messages included with each plan from 200 to zero. To get those 200 text messages back, subscribers will have to pay $5.00 more per month. As such, we've factored that added fee, along with the additional $10 data charge into our chart (below). The chart compares the original iPhone plans offered by AT&T to the new iPhone 3G plans with the added costs required to maintain basic text message capabilities and unlimited data downloads. All iPhone monthly plans MUST include the $30 data plan.

(It should also be noted that AT&T also offers 1500 SMS messages a month for $15 -- a $5 increase when compared to the original iPhone 3G SMS plans -- and unlimited SMS messages for $20 per month.)

AT&T's original iPhone plans (top) compared AT&T's new iPhone 3G plans (bottom) | Copyright AppleInsider.com

Generally, iPhone 3G users subscribing to the entry-level plan with 450 minutes will find themselves paying 25% more for their monthly phone bill with 200 SMS messages, while users subscribing to the unlimited plan will be paying about 12.5% more.

FamilyTalk Plans

AT&T has essentially carried over the same changes to its FamilyTalk plans. The cost associated with each line on a FamilyTalk plan has risen $10. Similarly, FamilyTalk plans no longer bundle 200 SMS messages as standard. FamilyTalk plan subscribers who want text message capability can pay 20 cents per message or subscribed to an unlimited SMS family plan for $30 a month. Alternatively, individual SMS plans can be purchased for each line at the $5 for 200 messages, $15 for 1500 messages, or $20 for unlimited messages.

AT&T's official SMS plans for iPhone 3G | Copyright AT&T.

Information on FamilyTalk SMS options and the chart (below) were updated at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time following clarification on FamilyTalk SMS options from an AT&T source. AT&T's original press release on the matter appears to have been misleading. While AT&T believes most FamilyTalk subscribers will play it safe and subscribe to the $30 Unlimited plan that covers all lines, it will offer cheaper plans starting at $5 per line for 200 SMS messages as noted in the above paragraph.

For the purpose of our charts, which compare the original iPhone Family Plans to the iPhone 3G Family Plans, we've assumed subscribers will play it safe and adopt a 200 SMS plan ($5) for each line. As a result, two-line Family plan costs rise $30 across the board ($10 of data plus $5 of SMS for each line), which translates into a 27% increase for families on the 700 minute plan with two lines and unlimited SMS messages, scaling down to a 8% increase for those on the top-tier 6000 minute plan.

AT&T's original iPhone Family Plans (top) compared AT&T's new iPhone 3G Family Plans (bottom) | Copyright AppleInsider.com

(AT&T's pricing for the Family Unlimited plan is somewhat murky. AT&T prices the plan at $259 per month but it's unclear whether that price includes two lines or one. We're working to sort this out.)

In addition, AT&T is also mandating that all current subscribers pay an $18 upgrade fee for each iPhone account that is upgraded to an iPhone 3G account.

Readers should also be aware of miscellaneous usages charges, taxes and fees that are tacked on to wireless bills each month. For instance, these charges added nearly $20 in June to an individual AT&T account in New York that was subscribed to the $109/1350 minute iPhone plan.
post #2 of 139
This is precisely the reason why I will NOT be getting an iPhone just to deal with AT&Ts bullcrap! I am probably going to piss off people ion this board but I hope Apple suffers from this exclusive deal so they me able to learn from their mistake. They could really wipe the map with customers if they opened up their iphone to more carriers. AT&T will just continue to jack up their price and continue cutting service. I bet when you call for support you get some second rate agent 3000 miles away from home. Does Apple really want to associate with this?
post #3 of 139
I will not be upgrading my iPhone. I think the costs are ridiculous.

For those of you making excuses for AT&T:

If 3G was more expensive, and therefore required a higher fee, then the fee should be only in the monthy bill, it would not have to be leeched onto the text messaging service as well. This is asinine, and they will not get any more money from me. As soon as voice-over-IP is up and running on the iPhone, I will hack it and leave the Cellular carriers behind permanently.

(yes, sooner or later, it will happen)
post #4 of 139
I was excited to purchase the iPhone in a couple weeks until i read this. The original iPhone was a bit out of my comfortable price range. Now this...

I'm not huge on texting and would never use 200 in a month but I am really upset they cut that out of the plan while raising the price.

Not only that... looking at the ATT map my area doesn't even have 3G.
post #5 of 139
For the family plans, you are comparing the 2.5G plan with 200 SMS's to the new plan with unlimited SMS's. That's not really a fair comparison. I upgraded our 2 line family plan to 1400 SMS's and it added $20 per line.

And don't tell me that email is better than SMS because without push email it's not better.

Sheldon
post #6 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd View Post

For the family plans, you are comparing the 2.5G plan with 200 SMS's to the new plan with unlimited SMS's. That's not really a fair comparison. I upgraded out 2 line family plan to 1400 SMS's and it added $20 per line.

And don't tell me that email is better because without push email it's not better.

Sheldon

According to the information released by AT&T today, the carrier is only offering family plan members two options for SMS with the iPhone 3G:

1) Pay 20 cents per message

or

2) Pay $30 for unlimited.

There is nothing in between.

As such, there really is no alternative for the comparison and I think it's more than fair to compare it the way we did.

Best,

K
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post #7 of 139
I was planning on purchasing an iPhone and a MBP. Apple just lost both sales because of AT&T.

I have been a long time AT&T customer... Yet... I'm not eligible for an upgrade. What is my cost for the iPhone? $500.00 for the model I wanted to get, the 16G. Text messaging extra too?

I hope you rot in hell AT&T executives.
post #8 of 139
After reading this... I'm really dissapointed! I have a 700 min family plan and I pay about $115 with tax... with 2 new 3G iPhones I'm looking at $165 a month plus the cost of at least $400 to upgrade both phones... for what 3G? GPS? I have WiFi at home at work and GPS in my car... I should have known better, ATT is the same, nothing changed! Now I just need to wait another year for my contract to expire... maybe by then we'll have more options.
post #9 of 139
wow. the no txt message thing is really obnoxious. I too was probably going to get an iPhone but am on the fence now because it's a HUGE increase in monthly cost from my current plan.
post #10 of 139
C'mon guys. This was to be expected. With a cash cow such as the iPhone AT&T can do whatever they like and the gadget addicted crowd will gladly pony up the cash to get one. Every one wants it and that was just much too obvious to the AT&T executives.

Another piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, is that 3G will soon be the standard, although the switch comes light years behind their counterparts over seas. Someone's gotta pay up for all the billions of dollars lost in the current system, and billions invested in the new one. Change costs money, and guess who's gonna pay it.

Would I like to get an iPhone? You bet. Am I switching from Verizon just to get one? No way.
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post #11 of 139
Some of you guys I'm sorry to say are a bunch of whiners. AT&T has had these same prices for every pda/smartphone for years now. I don't know why anybody expected anything different. AT&T hasn't raised the prices. If anything, they cut the original iPhone users a break by not classifying the device as a PDA/Smartphone last year; and having the price be $30 like every other one that they carry.

If you go and compare the prices with Verizon (Sprint + T-Mobile dont count as they don't directly compete with them) the prices are virtually identical. I'm not here to argue the merits of the service being overpriced, or ridiculous, but just saying that no one should be surprised; or feel like they're getting "taken". People are also saying they removed text messages now. No they didn't--the original iPhone data plan was nothing but the $15 medianet plan available for every other lowly cellphone, with a $5 add-on for 200 text.
post #12 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by boazh View Post

After reading this... I'm really dissapointed! I have a 700 min family plan and I pay about $115 with tax... with 2 new 3G iPhones I'm looking at $165 a month plus the cost of at least $400 to upgrade both phones... for what 3G? GPS?

Are you currently getting unlimited 3G or GPS with your $115 plan?
post #13 of 139
Does anyone know what the rates default to if we pass our existing iPhones to the kids? 2 2G phones and 2 3G phones. Do we all pay the increased data rate, or only the 3G versions?

Thanks in advance!
post #14 of 139
I don't know abut the rest of you, but I get more "call failed" messages in a month than I ever got from VZW. Calls fail frequently. The only reason I left verizon was for the iPhone. I hate ATT, but love the device. Does anyone else experience this ?
post #15 of 139
Is it me or are we actually better off with the iPhone deals with O2 in the UK?
post #16 of 139
You don't get charged for incoming text messages do you? If that's the case we just need an app/way to send messages and can forgo the $5 charge. I do agree with others that data being unlimited, yet being nickel and dimmed over text messages is ridiculous.
post #17 of 139
I currently have the 1,400 minute Family Talk plan with 2 non-iPhones at a cost of $89 p/m++.
I was planning on upgrading one of the phones and expected to pay $30 more than I do now.

From the looks of it, my same plan will now be $149.99, a $60 increase based on 2 phones. Do they assume that both phones will be iPhones with data and force you to spend that much? This seems absurd if only one of the lines is an iPhone. Maybe they're just trying to encourage me to buy one for my wife too.
post #18 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Does anyone know what the rates default to if we pass our existing iPhones to the kids? 2 2G phones and 2 3G phones. Do we all pay the increased data rate, or only the 3G versions?

Thanks in advance!

This has to be the worse place to get advice!

Whatever you hear here will be conjecture, i.e., an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

Calling AT&T won' get you any better information unless it is already posted.

Best you visit the AT&T web site yourself. Seems that a lot of posters here can't read well. That or they never checked the facts first before they wrote some of the stuff they did.
post #19 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

You don't get charged for incoming text messages do you?

Are you sure about that? I thought that you got charged for both incoming and outgoing texts.
post #20 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by toneloco28 View Post

Some of you guys I'm sorry to say are a bunch of whiners. AT&T has had these same prices for every pda/smartphone for years now. I don't know why anybody expected anything different. AT&T hasn't raised the prices. If anything, they cut the original iPhone users a break by not classifying the device as a PDA/Smartphone last year; and having the price be $30 like every other one that they carry.

If you go and compare the prices with Verizon (Sprint + T-Mobile dont count as they don't directly compete with them) the prices are virtually identical. I'm not here to argue the merits of the service being overpriced, or ridiculous, but just saying that no one should be surprised; or feel like they're getting "taken". People are also saying they removed text messages now. No they didn't--the original iPhone data plan was nothing but the $15 medianet plan available for every other lowly cellphone, with a $5 add-on for 200 text.


Really weird reasoning...
do you work for ATT? Now i know what/how ATT executives are thinking when they decide to change a plan... As long as all of their clients are suffering, it's fair...

I mean, did it occur to you that maybe the other plans are also overpriced and those are the ones that need to be adjusted?
As far as Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile goes, as long as there are people out there thinking like you and not willing to complain about it, they will never try to offer competitive and realistic pricing.
post #21 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

I will not be upgrading my iPhone. I think the costs are ridiculous.

For those of you making excuses for AT&T:

If 3G was more expensive, and therefore required a higher fee, then the fee should be only in the monthy bill, it would not have to be leeched onto the text messaging service as well.

Doesn't necessarily mean texting price has changed because of 3G. Texting itself may ne costing AT&T more.

You guys are ultimately comparing the new iPhone price to the old. The old is cheaper than the average smartphone service. While the new cost is more in line with the average smartphone service.
post #22 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

You don't get charged for incoming text messages do you? If that's the case we just need an app/way to send messages and can forgo the $5 charge. I do agree with others that data being unlimited, yet being nickel and dimmed over text messages is ridiculous.

Of course you are charged for incoming messages. You pay coming and going.

That's why I pay EVEN MORE to AT&T at the moment, to have my daughter's texting
limited. It's crazy to charge what they do for the messages, and then it's crazier to
charge us to limit them.

I despise them more and more every time I get a bill.

And I also despise them because our landlines are made of corroded, ancient
material that won't handle a digital signal. No DSL for us -- no highspeed
internet of any kind (unless we pay a fortune for satellite).

I won't go into the customer service deficiencies that we deal with every
time the lines get all static-laden, or our service cuts off for no reason.

Overall experiences with them: 0 on a scale of 1-5.

And Steve had me all excited about getting a new cheaper iPhone.

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post #23 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by maCar View Post

Really weird reasoning...
do you work for ATT? Now i know what/how ATT executives are thinking when they decide to change a plan... As long as all of their clients are suffering, it's fair...

I mean, did it occur to you that maybe the other plans are also overpriced and those are the ones that need to be adjusted?
As far as Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile goes, as long as there are people out there thinking like you and not willing to complain about it, they will never try to offer competitive and realistic pricing.

Its not weird reasoning this is how a free market works. Companies are free to charge what the market is willing to pay. The only way they know something is over priced if the market is not willing to pay. The market is willing to pay a premium smartphone rate.
post #24 of 139
The data plan for $30 is the same price that other smartphones get from AT&T. SMS is also not included in their regular smartphone data plans and go for the same price, $5 for 200, $15 for 1500. Basically, you are paying the same monthly amount if you went to their website and picked up a Blackberry and got the same services as the iPhone. While I am not happy with their price increases, it brings it inline with their other smartphones. One thing that really pisses me off is that they seem to require a business plan to get to use ActiveSync, which was a free service with my other smartphone, the T-Mobile Dash.
post #25 of 139
Apple stock is up with the price announcement so this is a good thing, right?
post #26 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by maCar View Post

Really weird reasoning...
do you work for ATT? Now i know what/how ATT executives are thinking when they decide to change a plan... As long as all of their clients are suffering, it's fair...

I mean, did it occur to you that maybe the other plans are also overpriced and those are the ones that need to be adjusted?
As far as Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile goes, as long as there are people out there thinking like you and not willing to complain about it, they will never try to offer competitive and realistic pricing.

No, I'm a real estate developer but thanks for trying. Did you even read my post? I said within that the intention was not to argue on whether the service was overpriced or not, but to say that anybody acting surprised was somewhat of a shock to me. Beyond the fact that AT&T has had these same prices for all their PDA/Smartphones for years, they TOLD us everyone would have to add a $30 data add-on to any iPhone 3g the date of the announcement! They also said the pricing of the device was only open to upgrade eligibe customers...

Who says I'm not willing to complain? I just know better than when all the information is given to me beforehand, I'm not going to act shocked when it comes out and all the people who heard what they wanted to hear, cry foul. Competition is good, especially in the cell phone arena, but I was just stating that as far as Verizon goes, so goes AT&T. If you want lower data prices for the iPhone--then wait for Verizon to drop their prices and see AT&T react accordingly. It's business.

Everybody assesses value towards things differently. For someone who hardly ever uses the iPhone to access data the price might seem like a rip-off. For someone whom has to be constanty connected and relies on responding to clients concerns immediately, being able to look up supplier detail, and navigating my way to different sites--the price may be inconsequential. It's all relative.
post #27 of 139
I've currently got the ATT family plan, with unlimited text messaging. But... when I upgrade to the 3G, there's no way I'm gonna pay $30 for text messaging.

Is there any way to disable or turn off SMS on an iPhone? At 20 cents a pop, I don't want to get clobbered with texts from friends & associates.

(Thanks... didn't know there was an option to NOT get SMS).
post #28 of 139
I don't know if there is a way to turn it off....but you don't have to get an SMS plan. They aren't even included by default.
post #29 of 139
I was looking forward to getting two 3G iPhones and getting the Family Plan but now that AT&T's pricing has been released I'm inclined to 'setting it out'. That AT&T now charges text messages is really ticking me off. I've been an Cingular/AT&T mobile telephone customer since 1999 and I've gotten my text messaging (200 per month) included in my base bill. Now AT&T wants to charge $30.00! Egads!!!

I guess I'll continue with my 'old-school' SonyEricsson W600i. I don't need a new phone that much.
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post #30 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

According to the information released by AT&T today, the carrier is only offering family plan members two options for SMS with the iPhone 3G:

1) Pay 20 cents per message

or

2) Pay $30 for unlimited.

There is nothing in between.

As such, there really is no alternative for the comparison and I think it's more than fair to compare it the way we did.

Best,

K

Are those calculations just the AT&T phone plans only? That is, does it incorporate the 399.00 to 199.00 price reduction of the 8 GB phone itself in any of those calculations?

If not, shouldn't it be? What does the increase come out to be when you subtract the 200.00 iPhone savings or 200.00/24 month AT&T contract = 8.34/mo.

Not counting taxes, surcharges etc. If the unlimited data was raised from 20.00/mo to 30.00/mo should not the 8.34 iPhone savings be subtracted from that 30.00. So you would be looking at 30.00 - 8.34 = 21.66 for the data plan (plus the 5.00 for SMS). So wouldn't the data plan only be 21.66 plus 5.00 (SMS) = 26.66 or an increase of 6.66/mo for the plan at least for the first 24 month contract of 3G speed basic 450 min. data plan for the phone service, and then afterwards, the price increases 8.34 or whatever it may be from AT&T and then the griping should truly begin?

Am I wrong? Should not the iPhone price reduction be calculated in the first 24 months of the AT&T contract because first gen iPhone owners paid more for the phone and less for the AT&T plan and now original purhcasers (not iPhone owners wanting to upgrade) would pay less for the second gen iPhone and slightly more for the AT&T plan that upgrades data speeds to 3G which was not available to the first gen users due to lack of capability on the iPhones part? So should the initial iPhone savings be incorporated in the initial 24 AT&T contract plans? If not, what does one do with that extra 200.00 that they wouldn't have had originally but do now?

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post #31 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericblr View Post

... AT&T will just continue to jack up their price and continue cutting service. I bet when you call for support you get some second rate agent 3000 miles away from home. Does Apple really want to associate with this?

Hear, hear. I break out into a cold sweat anytime I have to call their "customer service" line. That annoying voice automated menu almost induces headaches (seriously, that lady's voice who responds to the callers responces makes me wanna bang me head into the wall).

Sorry for my rant-but AT&T has really horrible customer service in my opinion.
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post #32 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I don't know if there is a way to turn it off....but you don't have to get an SMS plan. They aren't even included by default.

But do you get charged if someone sends you a SMS Text Message? Or can you tell AT&T at sign-up time that you do not want to accept text messages and AT&T should block and if they cannot block, they are responsible for paying since it is a service that is optional and if one does not add that option they should not be punished by being billed from a Text Message received from some outside source that is out of the iPhone owners control?

I know I would make that notation to any contract AT&T puts in front of me!

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post #33 of 139
Im out....this totally sucks.
post #34 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by polvadis View Post

C'mon guys. This was to be expected. With a cash cow such as the iPhone AT&T can do whatever they like and the gadget addicted crowd will gladly pony up the cash to get one. Every one wants it and that was just much too obvious to the AT&T executives....

I agree with you but I do hope that people complain enough that AT&T reconsiders or offers more text messaging cost options/plans. As I've mentioned, I've been dying to buy the new iPhone but this new pricing plan is a splash of cold water that brings me down to earth.
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post #35 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbritton View Post

I don't know abut the rest of you, but I get more "call failed" messages in a month than I ever got from VZW. Calls fail frequently. The only reason I left verizon was for the iPhone. I hate ATT, but love the device. Does anyone else experience this ?

It's easier to claim "fewest dropped calls" if you never connect the call in the first place! I paid the $150 to get out of my ATT contract for that very reason (somehow, utter failure to deliver promised services wasn't a good enough reason to be let out of my contract). Switched to Verizon and will NEVER return to ATT no matter how enticing the iPhone is. I'd rather carry around both a cell phone and an iPod touch. At least then I can leave the touch at home when all I want is a nice small phone to carry. And there are enough free wi-fi spots around that I'd still have OK internet access. Hm, maybe someone can hack the touch so I can tether my cell phone and use it's internet connection.
post #36 of 139
AT&T's table says that the $129 charge "includes two lines". But then you add 39.99 for an extra line (making 3). I don't think that's correct.
Family talk max's out at 5 lines, so again, the AT&T table says the "up to 3 additional lines", which again suggests that the first two are accounted for.
post #37 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by maCar View Post

As long as all of their clients are suffering, it's fair...

Sounds like the "mantra" of one of the two major political parties here in the US!

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post #38 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by toneloco28 View Post

Some of you guys I'm sorry to say are a bunch of whiners. AT&T has had these same prices for every pda/smartphone for years now. I don't know why anybody expected anything different. AT&T hasn't raised the prices.

Sorry if there have already been responses, but I've got a family plan with 4 lines, 2 of them Blackberrys with full data access and unlimited text messages for all 4 lines. If I were to upgrade either of the Blackberrys, let alone both or all 4 lines, the cost increase would be significant over what I'm paying now. This contract is only a year old, so we probably wouldn't be upgrading anyhow, but
Quote:
...had these same prices ... for years now...

just isn't quite true, at least in my case.

Ankly
post #39 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafe View Post

Of course you are charged for incoming messages. You pay coming and going.

Not necessarily true. I'm actually not sure about the text messages, but in the UK you don't pay for incoming phone calls. You only pay for the calls you make, similar to land-lines in the US. I assume that same applies to texts, but I'm not sure. (I took from you post that you are in the US. If if you know for certain that you pay for incoming texts in the UK, then I stand corrected.)

I was on a pay-as-you-go plan while there for work and found out that you even pay a different rate if you are calling a landline vs another cell phone. I assume the monthly package plans are a little less complicated, but it still makes comparing plans across the Atlantic a bit confusing.
post #40 of 139
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

It's easier to claim "fewest dropped calls" if you never connect the call in the first place! I paid the $150 to get out of my ATT contract for that very reason (somehow, utter failure to deliver promised services wasn't a good enough reason to be let out of my contract). Switched to Verizon and will NEVER return to ATT no matter how enticing the iPhone is. I'd rather carry around both a cell phone and an iPod touch. At least then I can leave the touch at home when all I want is a nice small phone to carry. And there are enough free wi-fi spots around that I'd still have OK internet access. Hm, maybe someone can hack the touch so I can tether my cell phone and use it's internet connection.

While I can't comment on those who have problems with connections, and not having an iPhone or AT&T service, I have seen since its initial release, three iPhones out in the wild. For my geographical area, all three had no complaints about dropped calls or failed to connect calls. They said it was comparable to any other local service providers. Grant it, it's only three, buy still...

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