In September 2011 I wrote about the data only mobile phone plan I had been on since January 2011. This came about by simply changing 3 recurring monthly expenses I had which resulted in a yearly saving of $1364.
28 months later, I’m still on a data only plan and in fact have reduced it from $10 a month to $5 a month which has resulted in $1200 of savings.
For $5 a month, I receive 500MB of data of which I only use about 400MB. I have a traditional mobile number that can’t make outgoing calls or SMS though can receive incoming calls and SMS. All outbound communication on my phone is done over the Internet.
Skype, WhatsApp, Acrobits Softphone, iMessage, Viber and email are applications that get used the most. Real time notifications from systems I manage is done with Prowl.
Some important points about the setup I have
- My monthly bill is $5 a month plus every 6 months, I pay $30 to keep my mobile number which also gives me $30 of credit.
- I have a Skype In number which costs $16 AUD every quarter which is used for work purposes. I also purchase $16 worth of Skype credit which typically lasts 6 months to make outbound overseas calls.
- Attending meetings and appointments means that I can’t be late and also I have to know exactly where I’m going as I typically don’t have the luxury of calling others attending the meeting letting them know I’m running late or to ask for directions.
- I always ask if someone has an account on a service like WhatsApp, Viber, Skype if I need to communicate with them on my phone. At the very least I will grab their email address.
- At the office, I have purchased a Linksys SPA3102 which I can plug into the PSTN. I’ve setup Asterisk, Blink and Acrobits Softphone to route outbound landline and mobile calls through the SPA3102. The phone line which I need for the ADSL line in the office comes with $15 worth of monthly calls which is what the SPA3102 uses for outbound calls. I also VPN into the office with my phone and am able to use this line with Acrobits Softphone too.
I don’t see myself ever returning to a monthly phone plan which includes outgoing calls and SMS unless my work circumstances change dramatically. I have also previously written on why these types of plans are broken.