Monday, March 16, 2009

Smartphone money pit

Back in July 2008 I wrote an article here about the costs of the new IPhone, especially when used to access the Internet. I warned that the costs of using your smartphone like your PC were going to rack up significant costs if you were not extremely careful.

 

The shocking cost of smartphones” in the Sydney Morning Herald today, illustrates how the unwary are being slugged big time. One user mentioned in the article posted to a technology forum seeking advice.

 

In his post entitled:"Virgin shocker bill $2458.67" he said he had accessed the internet while on holiday in Cairns, and hadn't realised his $450 cap plan applied only to voice calls.

Therein lies the trap for the unwary. Telcos treat voice and data as two separate things. Even though you may have a “cap” of $450 per month chances are it only applied to voice not to data. Chances are also that unless you have specified your data requirements up front you are likely to be paying  data charges at the highest rate, as this guy found out with his $2458.67 bill!

 

Wireless Internet is great and there are so many applications that take advantage of it but if you are going to be using your smartphone this way make sure you have setup and understand a data plan. Make sure you know exactly how much you can download each month and what any additional charges are. Also make sure you keep an eye on what applications you load onto your smartphone as they may access the Internet without your direct knowledge. The article also has some handy tips for “avoiding bill shock”.

 

Remember that convenience costs, especially when it comes to wireless Internet.