It’s now been two months since I published my blog “Why I’m throwing my mobile phone away“. I thought this might be a good time for an update.
Since I wrote the article, I have been using my iPod Touch as a phone, mostly using free wifi in my home, office and outdoors, sometimes using a Huawei Mobile Wifi device with a GiffGaff SIM card thrown in. (This creates a Wifi zone whereever I happen to be.)
I can receive the occasional rare phone call on my incoming Skype number, and text messages (also rare) are received by the Huawei device, and I can view them via a web interface on the iPod Touch. I can send SMS messages the same way.
The main things I use a smartphone for — checking emails, updating my todo list, checking things like news and weather, reading e-books using the Kindle reader, listening to music on Spotify or iTunes, checking for cinema times in Flixster, syncing my FitBit, etc. — I do without difficulty on the iPod Touch. I don’t need an iPhone for any of this.
The experiment, so far, has been a success.
So now a word about costs. Previously I was paying on average £58 a month for all my mobile telecoms costs.
The iPod Touch cost more than I planned on, as I needed to get the 32 GB version for £249 — £50 more than I would have paid for the 16GB version. Why pay extra? Not for the extra gigabytes, but for the additional camera, which I learned did not come on the 16 GB version.
I got the Huawei Mobile Wifi device on eBay for £35.50.
So I spent £284.50 on hardware — but sold my old Samsung Galaxy Note for £110. So the total investment in hardware was just £174.50.
The Skype online number for the occasional incoming phone call costs £3.35 per month. I may get rid of this as I hardly ever use it, and anyway it’s not a contract. I can cancel at any time.
To use the Huawei Mobile Wifi (mostly on busses, to check news and emails) I took a GiffGaff SIM card for data only. This is costing me £5 a month for 500 MB of data. In addition, I had to do a one-off top-up of £10 to allow me to send and receive SMS messages.
So in addition to the £174.50 for hardware, in the first two months I’ve spent £20 on Giffgaff and £6.70 on Skype. Assuming I continue with this, over the first two years, my total expenses should be £388.25 all told. This is just £16.17 per month. By year three, this will drop to probably just £5 a month, if I chuck the Skype number.
This is considerably less than I would have paid for any iPhone plan offered by any UK carrier.
For example, Carphone Warehouse is currently promoting the iPhone 5C for £49 plus £23.99 per month.
That offer is for an 8GB model (my iPod Touch is 32 GB) with 500 UK minutes and 500 MB of data (the same amount of data that I’m getting from GiffGaff for £5 per month). The carrier is EE. Over 2 years, that would cost £634.76 — more than 63% more than what I am paying now.
It’s a savings of nearly £250 in the first two years.
The savings will grow even more after the first two years.
I’m not missing a “proper” smartphone at all, and while my experience may not be similar to others (I do, for example, have access to wifi at home and at work), surely others are also overpaying for devices that may not be necessary.