AT&T Wireless has announced a new plan for handling iPhone billing, a week after one user received a 300-page bill for their monthly contract for Apple's phone.
AT&T notified users via text message of the change, saying: "We are simplifying your paper bill, removing itemised detail. To view all detail, go to att.com/mywireless. Still need full paper bill? Call 611."
This change is actually not as dramatic as it might first appear. "What we've had until yesterday was the detailed bill as the default option," explains AT&T Wireless spokesman Mark Siegel. The detailed bill was the one made infamous for its heft in a YouTube video.
"If you said nothing, you get a detailed bill - with every phone call you've made, and all of your data activity," he said. "We've always also had a summary bill as an option; this tells you what you owe this month, and very little else. It has none of the detail about your calling or your data activity. The third alternative we've always offered is a pure online bill." With any of those options, you could go online to view your usage details as well.
Now, AT&T is changing the default billing option for iPhone users. If you're a new customer and want the detailed bill, you will be charged $1.99 a month per phone line. Likewise, current iPhone customers who make changes to their existing account after September 28 will be charged $1.99 for the detailed bill.
"We are now offering the summary bill as the default option," Siegel says. "As of September 28, the summary bill will be the default option for new sign-ups, as well as for current customers who make any changes to their account." Current customers who want to keep the detailed bill may do so at no charge; they just need to notify AT&T that they want to continue receiving the detailed bill.
Siegel said the reason for the change is the sheer usage statistics among iPhone users. "A lot of our iPhone customers are heavy data users. That's no surprise - you're using the real internet." Because of this, he adds, "we thought it made a lot of sense to take action with them right now, to make the summary bill the option for them."