9 months on a data only mobile phone plan

September 19, 2011

In January 2011 I downgraded my $30 mobile phone bill to $10 a month. Previous to paying $30 a month, I paid $50 a month. No longer was I able to make a “$270″ of phone calls on other networks over the GSM network. No longer was I going to pay $0.35 for each SMS. And no longer was I going to pay $0.89 to retrieve a voicemail message.

Pay Phones

Thats right, I decided to stop paying the outrageous, overly exuberant prices Telecommunication companies in Australia wanted me to pay to use their network and services.

All I needed was a connection to a network that provided me with data. For $10 a month, I could get 500MB of data over a 3G or GPRS connection. Thats all I needed.

So for the last 9 months, my phone plan and habits are summarised as;

  1. My monthly bill is now only $10 for 500MB of data.
  2. Every 6 months I have to pay $30 to keep my mobile number to allow for incoming GSM calls. I also get $30 of credit for this.
  3. I communicate with friends and family over IP. There are a plethora of applications on the iPhone that provide an infinitely better experience to communication than a SMS or even a phone call.
  4. I use Acrobits Softphone as a VoIP client on my iPhone. It hooks into the contacts list on the iPhone, supports push notifications and I think is by far the best iOS SIP client. The app itself cost $7.49 and by forking out another $12 I was able to purchase the G.729 codec which provides better call quality over a 3G connection.
  5. I pay a once off $20 fee to have an incoming DID. Included in this I also get $20 worth of VoIP calls.  By using asterisk, I have full control over time and destination based routing and reroute incoming calls to my DIDs to either voicemail or my SIP client depending on time of day.

The way I make outbound calls had to change. When I have any packet loss over a 3G connection or latency  due to a poor wifi connection, the quality of the call drops dramatically. This is usually followed by me asking the other person to call me back on my mobile number. If its a company I’m dealing with, the person I’m speaking to has no hesitation in doing this. If its a friend or family member, there is a bit of confusion and I quickly suggest I move this conversation over to IM or email.

From this how much have I saved?

For 2010, my monthly mobile phone plan cost $50. In 2011 its $10. So far I have saved $420 if I was to compare with this time last year. This brings a total yearly savings of $600 if I continue to stick with this for the next 3 months.

image by ryan_tir

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