How to understand your, I mean “MY”, AT&T iPhone bill

How to understand your, I mean “MY” AT&T iPhone bill

If you are like most, understanding a shared cellular data plan might be confusing and incredibly frustrating! Well, I tackled the task today on my own bill when my daughter asked, “Does Pandora Radio use a lot of data?”

That kinda scared me. What are you talking about? Listening to Pandora all day long? While you sleep? What?

From what I gathered, if you listen to Pandora 90 minutes a day, you’re looking at about 2GB of bandwidth a month. So you might be safe if… you don’t use the Internet, download apps, don’t check emails, don’t play games that access the internet or anything else data related. 90 minutes a day seems pretty darn good, and you’ll probably drain your battery if you do.

SO… if you have a daughter and she asks how much data Pandora uses, make sure to impress upon your daughter that she better not listen to Pandora more than 90 minutes a day. Or else you’ll cancel their phone! HA!

Okay, back to the AT&T Phone Bill.

Here’s the question: is $230+other fees way too much for 4 iPhones? Not 4 iPhone 4s, but 3 iPhone 4s and a hand me down iPhone 3G with another hand me down iPhone 3G being used as an iTouch right now. I mean, we have 5 people in the family, 4 of which are using iPhones. So how does this all break out within each member?


FamilyTalk Nation 1400 Rollover & Unlimited Night/Weekend & Unlimited Mobile-To-Mobile Minutes.

Anytime minutes 1400

Regular: $80
My Cost (work discount): $60.80
Each additional phone: $9.99 (x3) = 29.97

Plan Total: $90.77


Family Messaging Unlimited with Mobile to Any Mobile Calling – Shared

Text: Unlimited

$30 (Shared)


DataPro 2 GB for iPhone $25 (x2 Jess/Donna) = $50
DataPlus 200 MB for iPhone $15 (Jake) = $15
DataPro 4GB for iPhone $45 (Glenn) = $45 (I upgraded 2 weeks ago for “My Personal Hotspot”)

Total: $140

AT&T iPhone Bill Sub Total: $230.77

So here’s how it all breaks down if we break it up by Primary user and the 3 add ons.

Glenn (primary user): $113.30
(this is the amount I would pay without other iPhones on the plan)

Donna: $42.49

Jacob: $32.49

Jessica: $42.49

Subtotal: $230.77

The only thing I don’t understand is the damn Credits/Adjustments/Other Charges and Government Fees and Taxes stuff… which equal about $25 extra bucks on the phone bill.

So, the average amount of my monthly iPhone cellphone bill is $260ish a month.

When you look at the individual breakdown it seems quite reasonable for everyone outside of the primary user (me). My cost would be $113.30 without the other three family members so any add on actually gets a great deal on unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and a very good data plan!

My job actually pays $19.20 of the $80 for the plan, which is why my plan rate is $60.80. Basically, a great perk of my job is that they pay $19.20 of my AT&T bill or else the total would be around $280 a month. Now that, to me, sounds too high compared to $260ish a month for a family of iPhone 4 users.

Now my data plan would be $25 like Donna’s and Jessica’s, but I decided to pay for “My Personal Hotspot” so I can tether both my laptop and/or my iPad, Nook handheld eBook reader, or any other device that needs internet access.

Get this: if you go on vacation and stay in a hotel that charges for internet usage, that 7 day stay will cost close to $70! With my iPhone, it’s $45 for the month!

And some local café’s charge a few bucks for a couple of hours. It’s not a lot, but it’s a charge, and with my iPhone’s “My Personal Hotspot”, I don’t pay that fee anymore!

So, for the first time ever, I actually was able to break down the bill, check usage because of Jessica’s Pandora question, and realize, paying under $45 for each additional family member for cell usage is actually not as bad as I thought. Next year, there might be four iPhone 5 and an iPhone 4 hand me down for Bella.

I may have to figure out the bill all over again!

About Glenn Magas