Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at email@example.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Question: I am in a family plan with my brother and mom through AT&T. I have an iPhone 3GS and the other two are not smartphones. Our bill is $185 with me=$78 mom=$85 bro=$23 with 1,400 minutes and 2 of us have 200 texts per month. The bill is high, seeing as my mom doesn't text and my brother only calls and texts. I have unlimited data and never go over 2GB, but I don't want to lose it just in case. I've been waiting for the new iPhone to come out but I've read it may be a nano iPhone, which I wouldn't want. What do you suggest we do to get a cheaper bill? Should I switch to Verizon for the iPhone 4? My mom wants me to get my own plan so the bill is cheaper for them even though I pay my portion every month. I don't want to get another phone; I love the iPhone, but alone it will cost at least another $30 more. -- Peter, via e-mail
$185 is a lot to pay a month, Peter, especially if you can get something cheaper. I looked over what the current AT&T family plan pricing is for 1400 minutes ($89.99), a 200 messaging plan for two people ($20), and a legacy unlimited data plan ($30), and it should still add up to around $139.99 a month, not the $185 that you quoted. Perhaps there are additional fees that your family has incurred, or maybe you need to call AT&T and negotiate a new deal.… Read more