iPhone 3G Rate Plan Estimated Monthly Costs: About $86 for 450 Minutes and Unlimited Data

In the aftermath of the iPhone 3G announcement last Monday, a lot of people who are considering purchasing an iPhone for the first time are looking for information about AT&T rate plans that cover the iPhone 3G.

I've had an iPhone for a year, so I am very familiar with AT&T's total charges. Although iPhone 3G rates will be structured similarly, there are a few increased charges.

At the end of this article, I estimate that my monthly charges for using an iPhone 3G will be about $86. That's up $15 to 17 dollars per month from what I pay today.

Read on for the rate details and my complete monthly service cost estimate....

AT&T Rate Plan Components

AT&T breaks iPhone 3G charges into two major components:

  • Usage Charges
  • Wireless Data Charges

Usage Charges (Individual Cell Phone Plans for Voice Phone Calls)

At this writing AT&T's National cellphone plans have the following costs:

  • 450 Minutes, $39.99
  • 900 Minutes, $59.99
  • 1350 Minutes, $79.99
  • Unlimited Minutes, $99.99

Wireless data charges

As I mentioned in my previous article about the differences between iPhone and iPhone 3G data plan rates, AT&T is raising the flat monthly charge for unlimited data for iPhone 3G users.

Users of the new iPhone 3G will pay $30.00 per month for unlimited data. (This is $10 per month more than users of the original iPhone currently pay.)

In addition, iPhone 3G users will be charged for all SMS messages. SMS messages currently cost $0.20 each unless you add an SMS message bundle to your monthly bill. The smallest SMS message bundle is 200 SMS messages for $5.00 per month. (Users of the original iPhone currently get 200 SMS messages at no additional charge.)

Update: Questions have been raised as to whether AT&T Mobility is definitely unbundling SMS messages in the iPhone 3G data rate plans. Operation Gadget will continue to follow the issue.

Total Estimated Monthly Bill

Taking into account the bills I receive from AT&T each month for my original iPhone, here's what I expect the final monthly bill to be for an iPhone 3G:

Rate plan, National 450 minutes$39.99
iPhone 3G Data$30.00
Media Max 200 Msgs (SMS bundle)$5.00
Federal Universal Service Charge$2.99
Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge$1.25
911 Service Fee$0.90
State Sales Tax (in PA, estimated)$5.55
Total$85.68

Your bill may vary from this one on a number of factors including rate plan, over plan minutes and SMS charges, international calls, and state taxes.

I hope this article helps you estimate the true monthly costs of using an iPhone 3G, and I hope you'll come back to OperationGadget.com for more information on your iPhone in the future.