Tuesday, February 24, 2009

how to figure out the best mobile phone deal...

Mobile phone plans are designed to confuse until you just give up and pick something, anything and hope it's ok. Well it will be ok, sort of. Unless you are an Engineer that is. Here is my Engineering approach: Reduce any plan to two fundamentals:
  1. how many minutes do get to talk for per dollar ? or if you like it the other way round: what is the cost per minute of talk ? Ignore special offers and funny stuff, free time between phones subject to a large number of provisos and restrictions etc...
  2. What is the minimum spend per month ?
Reducing any plan, any offer to those two metrics (numbers), makes the choice really simple.

If you are an Engineer it helps make the choice even simpler.

Example: Australia: Virgin Bean counter prepaid. 10cents/minute, 24/7 any phone in the country.
This one is easy to work out, they give it to you up front:
10cents/minute (or approx 9 minute per one dollar if you count connection fee).

You need to count the 25 cents connection fee.

You also have to pick some standard call lengths.
Lets say we look at 30 seconds, 1minute, 2 minute, 3 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute , 20 minute calls and compare the cost per minute for those fixed times.

Now things get a little tricky here: if we count 1 minute, or 60 seconds than most companies will charge the next block of time.
So for all the numbers below, when I write 1 minute I mean 1 minute less 1 second, or 59 seconds.

2 minutes means 1 minute and 59 seconds.
3 minutes means 2 minute and 59 seconds and so on.... .

Just under: 30sec 1min 2min 3min 5mins 10mins 20mins
Virgin Bean counter $ 0.30 0.35 0.45 0.55 0.75 1.25 2.25
Virgin Long Expiry $ 0.60 0.95

- to do:
- make a table and add it as JPG image,
- add the common plans here !
anyone willing to help me ? please email me on heikorudolph@yahoo.com

Minimum$/month :
Virgin Bean counter : $16.67/month (Min $25 for 45days).

  • special phone numbers that charge more are ignored.
  • special free call time is ignored, usually the restrictions means you can only call one or two people for free anyway and only at certain times. That's too complicated and generally not much use if you want to, or need to make a call.
  • special free arrangements such as free calls from Company V to Company V are ignored.

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