How Much Does Wireless Internet Cost on the iPhoneby Steven Elliott
Users of the iPhone are bound to AT&T's mobile service unless they choose to "unlock" their devices, which voids the warranty and can be irreversibly damaging. Because of this, the pricing options have little variance, which can be both good and bad for the customer. While the lack of competition over iPhone rates may create slightly higher rates, the plans are fairly straightforward and easy to decipher.
The iPhone allows you to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi hotspots or your cellphone provider's network. Wi-Fi hotspots are areas with free wireless access, usually transmitted through a router. These are common in public places such as coffee shops, college campuses, libraries and some cities. Many private homes also have private Wi-Fi access. The Internet access provided through your cellphone provider comes on one of two networks--3G or Edge. These terms simply distinguish between two network technologies, with 3G being the faster and more advanced of the two. One of these networks should be available just about anywhere you go.
Wi-Fi Internet access has one major advantage--it's free! Even if your iPhone's plan has expired, you can use the device to access the Internet in areas with open Wi-Fi connections. This means that an iPhone can connect to the Internet in a variety of locations with no obligations and no cost. Connecting through the 3G and Edge networks boasts the ability to connect just about anywhere. These networks are a little bit slower than most Wi-Fi hotspots, but their broad range makes up for it.
Since Wi-Fi is free, you just have to worry about paying for the 3G and Edge networks. The iPhone's data plan costs $30 a month for personal users and $45 a month for business users. One of these two plans is required to purchase your iPhone, so don't expect to subsist off of the free Wi-Fi connection.
AT&T's iPhone data plans allow you unlimited Internet usage. There are no charges for going beyond a specified limit of incoming or outgoing data. But note that AT&T does not include text messages with their data plans, unlike many other carriers. Text messaging costs $5 a month for 200, $15 a month for unlimited, or 20 cents per message.
Before July 2008, there was an iPhone data plan available for the reduced price of $20 a month. The cost has since been increased to $30 with the implementation of the superior 3G network. The $20 plan is no longer available, even if you live in a location not covered by the 3G network.
Purchase a separate data plan for each phone on your plan if you hope to access the Internet on multiple devices. Many individuals are shocked when they receive their bills and find exorbitant Internet usage fees from other phones. The iPhone's data plan covers only one phone, not an entire plan. More varied data plans may be available for your other devices.
The iPhone's data plan costs a total of $720 during a 2-year service plan. While it's a hefty chunk of change, unlimited mobile data plans have a lot of potential uses. Your phone can be used to receive driving directions from your current location, find new restaurants, check your email, update your stock portfolio, chat with friends on social networking sites, download new games and complete tasks usually done on your home computer.