I knew from the start that being mobile yet connected (MYC) would cost me more money. But I never imagined that the cost would be so much that it would disconnect me from my family and community at allâ€”mobile and disconneced (MAD).
Here’s the story:
Last December, I renewed my post-paid mobile phone plan with Smart Telecom. It came with a cheaply-priced phone that has 3G capabilities, including a fast Internet connection. Using the phone for sending email, surfing the Internet, or synchronizing data with a server costs P10 per 30 minutes of connection. Much like the charge from most Internet cafes. And it looks like not expensive at all, right?
But since I acquired my Sony Ericsson K610, I have already used it for my Internet-based tasks: Emails, moblogging photos and videos, visiting particular web sites, and frequent synchronizing of my calendar, contacts and tasks data with the Synchronized World server. I even used my phone to connect my notebook to the Internet. So, after two months of connecting to the Internet with the phone, my bill says I’ve used about 500 minutes and that I owed Smart more than P5,000 (about 80 USD), more or less P2,500 a month. Note: The data charge is exclusive of the SMS and voice calls that I made.
And since I already exceeded my credit limit (P6,000.00), my phone had to be redirected (euphimism for temporarily disconnected). Result: No text messages, no voice calls and no Internet connection using my phone number. And this travail will go on until I have enough money to settle my bill. Workaround: Buy a new SIM card with prepaid terms and just look for Internet cafes when outside the office.
It’s a quite a mess, as a result of my profligacy with my phone.
Here’s a caveat for post-paid 3G phone subscribers like me: Smart’s P10-per-30-minutes scheme is misleading. Unlike in some internet cafes, you’ll only be charged for the time you actually spent. With Smart, you’ll be charged P10 pesos even if you spent a minute.