I have not posted on this topic in a while and I apologize. My wife and I both have iPhones. We had the 1400 minute plan from AT&T and she was an add on line for 9.99. I paid for voice and data and she only paid for 9.99 voice add on. They thought she had a blackberry (cause we did at one point) and we just sold that and put the sim card in her iPhone and we operated that way for two years.
THEN, in an effort to lower our monthly bills and to stay out of contracts altogether, we left AT&T. They told me all about the cancelation fees and I gave them an earful about being an 8 year customer and so they cut those charges in half. To me, it was worth it as our phone bill was $150 a month and 95% of our calls are made at home. (home business and such). Enough was enough. We kept our numbers and changed them over to GoPhone plans (pay as you go). No contracts, nothing to pay at all, no bills, just 25 cents a minute for the minutes we use. Here's how I make it work.
Firstly, the iPhone still has GPS so I downloaded "OffMaps" from the app store $2.99 and you can download all the maps you need for your area or areas you plan to travel to over WIFI and they are saved in the phone. The app uses your GPS data to track you on the road and give you turn by turn directions. So that's maps taken care of. I may upgrade to Navigon later.
Secondly, the iPhones' WIFI still works so I looked into making calls over WIFI. I have downloaded a free Vonage app that is set up to make really cheap calls internationally. You set up an account with them, give them your credit card details and put $5 in the account. What I discovered was that you could also make as many LOCAL calls as you want for free without them knowing. I have been doing this for 3 months now. All you have to remember when making the calls is to put the 1 + area code before the number and hey presto! It works a charm. My account balance with them is STILL $5. As I said, I work from home and so does my wife. If I am out, it is to meet a client at a coffee house so I make calls from the coffee house WIFI if need be.
Now, people (clients mainly) can still call my old number and I can choose to talk to them at 25 cents a minute or I can let voicemail pick it up and then call them back over WIFI. I also have WIFI tracker on the phone and use it to pick up open WIFI if I really really need to make a call on the road. I recently went on a 500 mile journey and I made calls at nearly every rest stop and a few times I pulled off, turned on WIFI tracker and within 30 seconds I was making calls on someones open WIFI. You would be surprised at how MANY open WIFI's there are out there. So, it's like looking for a payphone but finding one superquickly and never leaving your car. After a while you just know where WIFI is and you start to think that way. I have to pick up milk and paper. I know that I can call that client back when I am at Staples picking up paper cause they have open WIFI.
Obviously I get everything else I need over WIFI. Email, the web, etc.
I also have a Google Voice number. I got my wife an invite on ebay for $2 and got her one too. I don't pretend to understand all of it but what I have found is that by putting my cell number in the list of numbers for Google Voice to call, I am able to get my AT&T voicemail sent to my email at no charge. Weird. But convenient.
I also have MagicJack for our home line and it works really well!!! $39.99 to buy it and that includes on full year of unlimited calling. Plug it into your Mac and it just works right away. I did have Vonage and I have since cancelled that. After your first year MagicJack cost 19.99 for a year of unlimited free calling with all the bells and whistles. Voicemail, forwarding, ID, all that good stuff.
So, in conclusion, if you are still with me (and I'm only trying to help) I feel pretty connected. and I only pay $1.70 a month for unlimited calling at home and I still retain a pretty functional cell phone and mobile maps service. So for less than $2 a month I get all that. Now that's more like it! Not $170.00 a month.
Do I miss data? Not really. I can add 100mb of data to my GoPhone plan for $20 a month (and I have it on this month) but I will not continue it as I just don't use it much, even with running my business. To be honest I thought it was so important to respond to email RIGHT AWAY to have the edge in business and that is how I justified the iPhone and AT&T but I learnt that most people in business are not at that level yet and I don't hear from people for days and here I am paying all this money to be SO connected. Meh!
To me, I feel connecting people should be free and so should the internet. It's what you do with those connections that should justify your revenue. These are pipelines, much like the road systems. Don't charge people to get to the mall. Get them to the mall and charge them for the services they use there. You'll get a lot more people to the mall that way. I am not a fan of monthly bills. I don't have cable, I have iTunes and the internet and I pay (happily) for what I use. Is 1.99 too much for a TV show? You betcha! But is it worse than paying $100 in cable on a busy month when I don't use it and get bombarded with adds? NO WAY IN HELL!!! I am never going back.
I may pick up another cell phone plan someday if I have to but I am hoping the industry evolves before then. Any form of evolution in business comes from messages received. You keep paying them, they'll keep charging it. Cells were cool in the 80's but they are established technology now and should be a much cheaper part of our lives, not some gold-like commodity.
Edit: This will be my next purchase to further release myself from the cell phone commitments. Cell phone use on your landline. http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/0...lls-disappear/
Edit again: I just visited Starbucks and tried to see if I could hook into AT&Ts' free WFI for iPhone customers. I have my iPhone on a GoPhone plan (read above) so I wasn't sure. But it worked. And no data use. So I now have a whole manner of services from AT&T without paying them a dime. I am sure this will end soon as they tighten things up but hopefully they are learning that more and more people want an iPad plan on their iPhone. Data data data. These "minutes" packages are really getting old!!!