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Sunday, July 29, 2007

iPhone+AT&T Bill=(not so)Uh-Oh

David Pogue posted a write-up back on July 18 (hey, how did he get his bill so fast?) lamenting the total charge coming to about $150 dollars.

Sure, I’d be all “uh-oh” if my bill had been that much. But while I haven’t quite yet received my paper bill, it became available online last night. Not only was it under $150, it was well under $100.

(Very short side-note rant: I got an e-mail last night that my bill was available for viewing online, but when I tried to log in, the site said that the service was temporarily unavailable, please try again, and they apologize for the inconvenience! WTF?)

Back on the main subject, maybe my billing cycle is different than Pogue’s. Maybe the fact that I bought my iPhone on July 1 instead of June 29 came into play. Maybe I’m going to get hit next month. Maybe the planets simply aligned in my favor.

I’m not sure what happened, or what is going to happen next month, but here’s a summary of my bill. Don’t hate me.

NATP450 - 39.99
IPHONE DATA+200 - 14.67
&emsp (yes, they only billed me 14.67, not $20)
Federal and Regulatory charges - 1.71
Taxes - 11.24

Total damage - $76.60!

That’s no mistake. My latest bill only came to $76.60—only a couple dollars more than my past average.

There’s another very interesting thing to note in that breakdown—no $36 iPhone activation fee that was supposedly added to every iPhone customer. I should probably just keep my mouth shut, but I’m obviously not going to call AT&T about it. I will, however, brace myself for the chance it’ll be added on my next bill, but I sort of doubt it. Companies notoriously charge you for everything they think they’re supposed to charge you at their earliest possibility. It wouldn’t make sense for the activation fee to show up next month instead of this month. Same goes for any previous billing cycle pro-rating.

Based on the calling detail, I’m completely certain that my billing cycle begins on the 25th of each month. Apparently, however, not everyone’s cycle starts the same day. Where Pogue may have had to pay for a full month plus a little extra for pro-rating of the previous cycle, I guess the pro-rating can work in reverse, too. My old phone carried the $15 plan for 5MB of data and 1,500 SMS/MMS messages. Is it possible that migrating from this plan, combined with my activation taking place about a week after the start of my billing cycle, accounts for the reduced iPhone Data/SMS charge?

That still doesn’t account for the missing activation fee. I don’t even believe my account was eligible for a phone upgrade. Or maybe it was. I bought my last phone August 30, 2005. (Wow, I paid a lot for that Sony Ericsson S710a!) But I haven’t seen a single clue that AT&T would waive the $36 activation fee if you were eligible for an upgrade. Isn’t the upgrade eligibility cycle two years? I hadn’t even quite reached that, and I seriously doubt AT&T would’ve looked at my account and decide, “close enough, let’s not charge him the activation fee.”

I know, I know, I’ll probably have to eat my hat next month. I’ll let you know.

» Posted by ALBj at 10:43 AM (ET)
Category: Musings


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