Data Plans for Cellphones Look More Attractive Everyday (Short Piece 26)


I was reading an article about iPhone users at Microsoft. iPhone appears to be as popular with Bill Gate’s employees as with everyone else but the politics of Microsoft are no different than any other company. The article mentions how iPhone is ubiquitous until a top management person is around and everyone hides their phones. I don’t have an iPhone but experience a similar situation. I sell cellphones, including iPhone, as part of my job and the rules of political correctness require I subscribe to one of our vendor companies. It did occur to me that the employee plans offered by vendors are cheaper than public plans but I have been very happy with my fake smartphone and its unlimited all-inclusive plan, I cannot find a better replacement and have no problem paying a bill that is 3 or 5 times the employee plan rates (depending on which vendor I pick) each month. Officially only one person knows I have a phone of the competition but unofficially it is an inside joke what I personally use and what I sell to the public. I feel Microsoft employees and myself are amongst the millions who find better solutions regardless of the obstacles.

One of the things I have noticed about my cellphone usage is how little of voice time I actually use. I have always been in favor of not talking on the phone and still don’t know why. I have a theory that I am very used to interpersonal communication or written communication and can pick up and send enough cues to be in strong communication but telephone lacks both thus my dislike for voice-only communication. I don’t think my theory is complete but is partially accurate. In any case, unless my work activities require me, I make the least use of the voice feature of my phone. What I have found more beneficial is the text feature. I was one of the original text-fanatics before texting was even popular. That is another story and I can only tell many people disliked receiving and sending text messages because it was such a novelty.

I have noticed I use my phone the most for my email. My phone updates my emails non-stop daily and I go through my two email boxes anywhere from 50 to 80 times daily reading and deleting and sending (to a less extent) emails. That is the most used feature of my phone. I may use the web a few times or many times each day without any real pattern to this usage. The text message has always been my favorite for doing the job of voice contact and I can think of another reason why I like text: I can get down to business without all interpersonal stuff customary in personal contact. That saves me a great deal of time. I can also be in contact without imposing on people. Text has its disadvantages also but I see text as a useful feature. The least used feature of my phone is voice. I have had jobs where I would have to make and receive many phone calls and I am fortunate to get by text messaging. I spoke to a customer a few days ago who had two phones. One Sprint phone, as part of his family plan, and a Blackberry given to him by his company. The Blackberry had no voice feature and he was allowed to only use the device for data work which is web, email and text messaging. I found that interesting and later thought that is not a bad use for a phone line. Why not have cellphone plans that allow heavy data use and only allocate a few minutes of voice minutes.

The trend seems to be toward making and using cellphones that handle information. Cellphones are now classified into two major categories of voice use and information use. Some people purchase cellphones mostly or completely for making and receiving calls while others have voice as a minor necessity. I searched the available plans for public cellphone users and could not find any plan that would offer unlimited data with only a little (100 anytime minutes maybe?) voice minutes. That would be ideal for someone like me who dislikes making and receiving phone calls unless absolutely necessary but has no problem sending and receiving 50 text messages each minute. I think such plans should exist and should be much cheaper thus attracting more people. When cellphones first became commonplace and reliable, I started to hear people talk about disconnecting their landlines and only using cellphone thus having only one phone bill. That is very common today and less usage of cellphones for making and receiving calls is the next step. Cellphones have already advanced to the level of being tiny computers with full features and everyone buys and uses them. Why not have one more plan for cellphone users? Why not have a cheap dedicated data line with a small voice package attached. I think such plans will attract many who want to have lower cellphone bills and access to voice as a necessity. The standard cellphone monthly bills are already in three digits for smartphones and will be going higher in the future since inflation takes its toll regardless of how much the government lies of low inflation. Why not have a cheap plan that encourages heavy text use and voice only if necessary? The companies that offer such plans will be serving a new and strong niche and if the plans are not much cheaper than other or inclusive plans, they won’t catch on. I think if such plans existed, I would have two phones by two different carriers since I cannot find everything I need in one carrier and so would others. I have had two cellphones in the past and works out great because if a person travels, does business, has a social life and so on one phone and one cellphone plan will prove to be a huge handicap while two phones, two phone numbers and two competitive plans will prove great. I think some cellphone companies can offer such plans by making a small change in their offerings and will attract many new loyal customers who are heavy users of their services. Let’s hope for that in the near future.

*This post belongs to this week’s edition of Wine by Cush Magazine blog and published early in World of Cush also.


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