Personal

3 x $200+ Cell Phone Bills

“Only a moron would spend $80 to $100 dollars per month just for cell service,” I thought to myself. “There must be a cheaper option!”

“I have a lot of sensitive personal data on my phone. I need to enable full disk encryption on my Android.”

These two things by themselves are totally innocuous. But together they ended up costing me over $600 in bills over the course of only 3 months.

It turns out that when you enable full disk encryption on Android, you can’t install system updates. But it also turns out that that doesn’t stop Android from trying. Over the three months it took me to realize what was going on, my phone was constantly downloading the system update “over the air” (IE on my data plan, not on wifi), trying to install the update, failing to install the update, then starting over again.

Once I finally figured out what was happening, I checked my data usage and I was pulling 25GB of data per week. Every week. For 3 straight months.

If I was one of the sheeple still paying for overpriced data plans from a major carrier and I had an unlimited data plan, this would be irrelevant. But I switched to a carrier whose data plans maxed out at 2GB, and you pay overages for every MB thereafter. So I had pulled about 98GB of data every month for three months that was all charged at the overage rate.

Oops.

In addition, I couldn’t find an option to tell Android to either A) not download updates at all, or 2) only download them over wifi. And once you’ve enabled full disk encryption, you can’t disable it without totally wiping the phone and starting over.

So I bought an iPhone.

This happened over a year ago, but I still use that carrier. I did the math, and even with three months of $200+ bills, I saved money overall on my plan that year, vs if I had stayed with AT&T or Verizon.

The carrier is ting.com, and I strongly recommend them. I’ve had $200/month bills, but I’ve also had a $-1 bill. That’s right. I managed to use so little of their service that they paid me a buck at the end of one month and put it towards my next month’s bill. If you aren’t a data-hog, you should definitely check them out.

This is my current usage / bill for the month I posted this:
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