In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. LitFict and Sentences
  2. Cultcha in da Stix
  3. Eating and Fitness Linkage
  4. $$$martphones ...
  5. Mental -- And Physical -- Health
  6. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  7. Checking In
  8. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  9. Rock is ... Forever?
  10. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Mental -- And Physical -- Health | Main | Eating and Fitness Linkage »

July 17, 2009

$$$martphones ...

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

MacWorld takes a look at how much money smartphone users are really spending. Fun fact: "For a lot of folks, the monthly smartphone bill can be as big as, say, a car payment."

As someone who feels obligated to have a cellphone but who uses it maybe twice a week, I pair a dumbphone with a Verizon pay-as-you-go plan. Cellphone-wise, I get by on around 10 bucks a month.

What's your monthly cellphone bill?



posted by Michael at July 17, 2009


The Girlfriend and I have Verizon and we pay about $125 a month.

My Razr is over 2 years old and starting to fall apart, so I'm in the market for a new phone. The iPhone and various BlackBerrys look great but, as fun as it would be to have such a lovely gadget, I can't accept paying the high data plan fees. So I'll probably just get a basic phone with a keyboard to make texting easier.

Posted by: Bryan on July 17, 2009 6:58 PM

Verizon--we're part of a family plan with some far-flung relatives, our share of which is about $30/month. We use it quite a bit, but almost no texting.

Posted by: Steve on July 17, 2009 7:42 PM

I pay less than you do, Michael -- about eight dollars a month on average. I like having a cell phone (aka mobile phone over here), but I suspect there are newborn infants in HK who talk on their mobiles more than I do on mine!

I have to admit to having succumbed of late to the lure of texting. It's really useful for us introverted types: Message delivered! No need for a conversation!

And while the confessional's open, I'll also own up to feelings of lust when gazing upon others' sleek, shapely, exquisitely fondle-able smartphones. They sure are pretty.

Posted by: mr tall on July 17, 2009 8:09 PM

$120 month for 3 phones, including an unlimited texting plan for our oldest son, "free" unlimited calling to other Verizon phones (which includes the majority of both sides of the family) and 500 anytime minutes which we almost never exceed. We're about ready to drop the land line. It's a pretty good deal.

I agree about smartphones, particularly the iPhone. AMAZING device, but data plans are too much at the moment. They'll come down in the next few years.

Posted by: JV on July 17, 2009 8:18 PM

I have a T-Mobile pay as you go plan with a cheapo Nokia phone. I like to use phones for what they were invented to do: talk.

For all the other stuff, I use my iPod Touch.

Posted by: Monty on July 17, 2009 8:37 PM

I should have added a relevant fact to my message: my bill is so low in part because all local calls and all local texts in Hong Kong are free. So even basic phone plans (like mine: I believe it's called the 'Brontosaurus Special') include hundreds and hundreds of minutes -- I rarely use even 10% of mine.

Posted by: mr tall on July 17, 2009 8:38 PM

Pennies a month, I assume. I bought 15 GBPs of air time years ago and it's not nearly used up yet. Receiving calls is free (as it ruddy well should be).

Posted by: dearieme on July 18, 2009 7:49 AM

Mullenix cell phone bill: $0.00

Peace of mind; solitude; plausible deniability: PRICELESS

Posted by: Matt Mullenix on July 18, 2009 8:13 AM

I want to sign on to Mr. Tall's "Brontosaurus Plan." Other random thoughts.

* I'm amazed by how many of our young friends have given up landlines and only have cellphones. Seems very common these days. They tell me they move so often and are so used to the cellphone that they never even give having a landline a thought. Given their often small incomces, I'm amazed by how much they spend on ritzy phones and subscriptions. It's a big and important part of their lives, I guess.

* One reason I seldom use the cellphone is fuddy-duddiness, of course. But another one is that I've embraced the web so thoroughly. I love email and Facebook and do most of my connecting via those channels.

* The Wife is contemplating ditching her cellphone. Though she has a pay as you go plan too, she doesn't like the cellphone, could bum mine if/when she needs one, and has done a great job of training friends and family to get her via email instead. Many of them don't even known that she has a cellphone. (Hey, I've made a point of handing out my cellphone # to no more than a half dozen people myself.)

* Small point, I guess, but I actually like getting away from "being connected." While our young friends expect to be on call at all hours, I love treating myself to hours when no one can get me. So I just power the cellphone down and enjoy life.

* Texting and emailing via cellphone is sort of appealing ... But then I ask myself why? With whom? In my life anyway, there's nothing that can't wait an hour or two.

* Do any of you heavy cellphone users worry about health consequences? Holding a beaming/radiating/electromagnetic thing next to your skull for hours, etc? Didn't I read somewhere that iPhones are particularly powerful little devices in terms of giving off electric humminess?

* I love much of what iPhones can do ... I barely use a cellphone ... Maybe one of these days I'll imitate Monty, stick with my Verizon dumbphone and get an iPod Touch.

* Someone with a few connections told me that a new iPhone will be coming out in September, and that the iPhone-contract thing will be opening up then too. Wider range of plans, maybe even some different providers. Has anyone heard anything similar? Anything that contradicts this?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 18, 2009 11:19 AM

There are rumors that Apple may open up the iPhone to Verizon in late 2010 or whenever they upgrade their network to GSM. Would be nice if there was some variety in the data plan, we'll see.

One thing about cellphones that is nice for parents is that you can always reach your kids. Give them a cellphone and set 'em loose. It's comforting for both sides, especially when they're teenagers. Digital leash? You bet!

Posted by: JV on July 18, 2009 12:44 PM

For those who would rather live without an endlessly ringing cell phone and high monthly fees, there's always the Peek handset, which does email and texting only -- nothing else -- for a flat monthly rate.

Personally, I've found much of the iPhone's appeal to be sheer novelty. There is very little that I really need to be able to do on my phone, and given that most of my day is spent at a computer already, I'm hardly in desperate need of another screen to stare at. If I could get a phone, texting, email, and Google Maps, for cheap and without a contract, I'd be sold, permanently.

Posted by: Nick on July 18, 2009 7:37 PM

>>If I could get a phone, texting, email, and Google Maps, for cheap and without a contract, I'd be sold, permanently.

Ditto. That's *exactly* what I'm looking for.

Posted by: Bryan on July 19, 2009 12:16 AM

We have an archaic tracfone, which we only recharge as needed for traveling or emergency use. I hate phones. I especially hate cell phones. The sound is terrible, and they cut out when people talk in a normal cadence which overlaps or talks over slightly. I bought an old, brown 1970's wall phone with a spiral cord for my studio and I love that phone. It has push button numbers, the old fashioned big receiver, and I can crook it on my shoulder like we all used to do back in the day in order to have your hands free. I wish we could turn back time when it comes to phones.

Posted by: KR on July 20, 2009 1:21 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?