How Much is an iPhone Bill?


One of the main barriers that are still in place for some people upgrading to smartphones can be the price.  This is not just the inherently higher price for the handset itself, but also the overall monthly cost that can be significantly higher than with a standard mobile phone.  There is not a definite cost that is universal to all smartphones, but in general the higher cost is associated with the data plan that is applied to the account.  This means that the Internet connection that allows for the flow of data has an additional charge, and this may be tied to even higher charges than that.  Three carriers including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon now handle the iPhone, and it is important to figure out how much an iPhone bill will be before you make a purchase and sign a contract.  There is no way to give a guarantee as to how much an iPhone bill is universally, but you can figure out what the standard cost will be and what would make it go up from there.

There is no way to give an exact amount since it depends on the break down on what the specifics of your plan are.  For example, you can often expect to pay around $40 for 450-500 anytime minutes on your iPhone.  On top of that you may pay around $15-20 for unlimited text messages.  What is relatively consistent is the cost of the Internet, which for new signees in AT&T and Verizon is broken down into categories based on the amount data they can receive through the now 4G networks monthly.  On AT&T you can get a very basic 300mb DataPlus deal for $20 a month, and a 3GB a month for $30.  It is important to note that you will be charged if you go over the amount allotted.   This means you are going to have to be checking your data usage almost constantly.


If you are on the 300mb plan, which is very little, you will be charged an additional $20 for every increment of 300mb that you go over.  On the 3GB plan you will pay $10 for every additional 1GB you go over, which is a much better deal both on the month to month and in case of mistakes.  There is also a DataPro 5GB plan for $50 a month, and you can use it as an internet connection at different iPhone personal hotspot locations along with the data coverage.  This Cadillac plan also has a $10 per 1GB overage system as well.  It is important to note that this is for an individual plan and the prices will be different on family and business plans, but will usually approximate the prices.  It will always be cheaper, however, if you get a group plan as this tends to reduce the prices for things like text messages and call minutes.  These should be compared when purchasing, especially if you are looking to purchase multiple iPhones for your family or group unit.


Verizon comes in with a similar set of iPhone data plan options, but have options that are both better and worse depending on your specifications.  First, the $30 a month plans only covers 2GB.  The $50 plan covers 5GB and a personal email plan, but no iPhone personal hotspot.  You can, however, go beyond the AT&T iPhone data plans.  You can get a 10 GB plan with personal email for$80 or a 4GB data bundle with personal email and a mobile hotspot for $50, which is much less data yet includes a variety of options.   There is also a 7GB plan for $70 and gigantic 12GB plan for $100.  In general this is going to up how much the iPhone bill is on Verizon in comparison to AT&T, or you are going to get less in your iPhone data plan for the same amount.

Sprint comes in much differently for their iPhone data plan and instead requires a Premium Data options for $10 a month.  With this all smartphones on Sprint, not just iPhones, will receive unlimited data.  This puts it as being a much cheaper iPhone bill on Sprint than for the competitors, and you can then add hotspot options for an additional charge.  This is likely going to be a temporary situation for the Sprint iPhone, and you can expect that new contracts in a year or two will be based on a tiered data system.

For both Verizon and AT&T there is what is sometimes called a “grandfather” clause in the contracts of those who signed iPhone contracts originally before the tiered iPhone data plan system has been put in place.  On both carriers, the iPhone bill was based around only an unlimited cost or usually around $30.  When you signed this it is stated that you will continue, even after the following resigning of the contract, to pay for the stated amount for the unlimited data plan as long as you do not change your plan.  This means that there are some people that are going to be paying the same price for unlimited iPhone data on their Verizon or AT&T iPhone’s while paying the same price as those who have the 2GB or 3GB plans, respectively.

All of these data choices are then placed on top of the other plan costs, which are somewhat comparable across the carriers.  AT&T, as the first iPhone carrier, is a good example of the options and approximate costs you will have.  First, you can select unlimited minutes for $69.99 a month.  900 rollover minutes cost $59.99 and 450 are $39.99.  You then add unlimited messaging for $20 a month, or a $0.20 text message and $0.30 MMS cost individually.


You can also add things like roadside assistance for $2.99, Navigator for iPhone for $9.99 a month, or early nights and weekends for $8.99.  The true answer to how much an iPhone bill is will only be answered by how basic you want to do.  A basic plan that assumes either the unlimited data plan or the 3GB a month plan will start at $30, then added to with 450 rollover minutes for an additional $39.99.  Then you put on the text message plan for $20, and you have a total coming in at around $90 a month.  At the same time, these prices are not fixed, can change depending on different factors, and can change over time.


Both the Verizon and Sprint iPhone’s are similar in terms of phone coverage; through you are going to pay much more on Sprint for unlimited minutes at $99.99.  For most people, the lower number of minutes is going to be a good option.  For people who have unlimited data then fewer text messages and minutes may actually be the best option.  Since you will be able to use things like iMessages, Skype, FaceTime, and other calling and communication services that go online instead of through limited messages or minutes you will want to go with this instead.  If, however, you have a limited data plan then it is better to blow through available minutes and texts than to use up the available Internet data.


What you should factor in to how much the iPhone bill is would be the approximate costs of apps, which can be significant since most users will purchase at least a few pay apps in a month.  These apps can range from a dollar to well over a couple hundred dollars, though the vast majority of iPhone app that people use regularly remains free.  The cost, though, needs to be considered flexible since your common iPhone usage will affect what your total monthly cost is including your iTunes bill.  The original purchase cost should also be skewed both by the fact that the iPhone will be subsidized by the carrier when you purchase it and you have a lot of option


In general, you will need to expect that your iPhone bill to be between $80-100 a month, which is relatively significant in comparison to low-end phones.  The data costs will remain somewhat consistent, but you will want to lower your minute and text limits to lower the overall costs.  This pattern has been relatively consistent and you can expect it to continue for quite a while as the three major carriers fight over customers, especially if the T-Mobile iPhone enters the market.


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