Last summer when I made the choice to scale back my expenses. Two of the biggest expenses I had were my car and my phone. Believe it or not, ditching the car was an easier choice to make. Since I live in Denver, I was actually looking forward to riding my bike. And when it’s necessary, I ride the bus and light rail.
The harder solution was how to handle the phone. At the time, I had an iPhone 3G. But, when the bill came to $90, I sought ways to cut that while still staying in the iOS ecosystem. I’ve had iPhones since the first iPhone. And I have a lot of money invested in apps. I ended up selling the iPhone 3G for $200 on Craigslist. I immediately went out to buy a new iPod Touch and paired it with a Virgin Mobile Mifi. Virgin changed their policy to unlimited data for a flat $40. So, by using Line2 for $15 a month, I dropped my phone bill from $90 a month to $55. I haven’t really regretted it very much. There are times when talking on the phone is a bit of a pain. Sometimes, you have that delay where you end up talking over each other. I talk to my mom once a week. She doesn’t like it so much. But, others don’t seem to mind.
So, yesterday Virgin Mobile sent out a press release stating they will be throttling people down when they pass 5GB of usage. I thought this might be happening. I logged into my Virgin Mobile account to make a payment (don’t get me started on why they can’t seem to understand that I want recurring billing). When I logged in, I noticed that instead of “unlimited”, I could see on the left hand side of the page, the total amount of bandwidth I had used over the last month. I was quite surprised by the fact that it was under 5GB. I stream ALOT of audio. I always have. When I still had my car, my iPhone was mounted to my dash. I had given up XM satellite radio in favor of streaming Pandora and other terrestrial stations for free. I’m sure AT&T was happy to see me go. As were the other AT&T users in the Northern Denver Metro area.
I’ll adjust. No matter where I end up living, I’m sure there will be Wifi I can tap into. And there is a somewhat good internet connection at school. And I love listening to podcasts. So, I’ll load up before I leave the house. What’s really great about the mifi is that it works easily with my laptop. Yes, I can use the campus wifi at school. But, I’m often at cafes and restaurants. Sometimes there is a connection. Sometimes there isn’t. I’ll just have to make a point of checking my bandwidth on a regular basis.
Virgin Mobile won’t be cutting me off if I go over 5GB. They’ll just throttle me down. It will be interesting to see what that looks like. But, if I haven’t reached it yet, maybe I don’t have much to worry about.
In the words of all lazy television journalists, “We’ll See”.