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iPhone Bill a Whopping 52 Pages Long

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the make-the-trees-stop-crying dept.

369

PoliTech writes "iPhone bills are surprisingly large - 'Xbox Large', according to Ars technica: 'AT&T's iPhone bills are quite impressive in their own right. We're starting to get bills for the iPhone here at Ars, and while many of us have had smartphones for some time, we've never seen a bill like this. One of our bills is a whopping 52 pages long, and my own bill is 34 pages long. They're printed on both sides, too. What gives? The AT&T bill itemizes your data usage whenever you surf the Internet via EDGE, even if you're signed up for the unlimited data plan. AT&T also goes into an incredible amount of detail to tell you; well, almost nothing. For instance, I know that on July 27 at 3:21 p.m. I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as Data Transfer. The Type of file? Data. My total charge? $0.00. This mind-numbing detail goes on for 52 double-sided pages (for 104 printed pages!) with absolutely no variance except the size of the files.' You would think that a data company would have a more efficient billing process."

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369 comments

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204811)

First post!

Cingular Billing Systems Are a Mess (4, Informative)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204817)

They were never able to get my bill correct for the 6 months I was with them after the initial AT&T merger. I left, went with TMobile for a year, and I am now back as an iPhone customer. I probably should review my bill.

Re:Cingular Billing Systems Are a Mess (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205191)

I agree, but in my experience, anal sex was associated with male-male paederastic relationships. Manuscripts and art from those periods depict anal sex as the main or only sexual activity that occurred in such relationships.

In modern times, particularly in Western cultures, anal sex has been popularly associated with gay and bisexual men. In particular, anal sex has been associated with the spread of HIV, especially in early years of the discovery of the disease. This resulted in gay bathhouses in some American cities being shut down by public-health authorities.

Among gay men who have anal sex, some consistently take the top (insertive) or bottom (receptive) role, but this is not always the case: some men who have anal sex act as both top and bottom at different times. This is known as "versatile" or "switch".

Re:Cingular Billing Systems Are a Mess (2, Insightful)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205279)

We got a bill from AT&T for long-distance service on our landline that we haven't used in years, since we get long-distance minutes included in our cellphone plans. So after we call up AT&T to ask what's up and cancel the service, they send us a check for $0.03. How efficient.

Employees hate the billing. (5, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205529)

Be glad your not an employee. When I worked at Cingular it was a nightmare when customers called in and wanted you to explain their bills. It's so complex and ass backwards that often nobody that works for Cingular can even tell you what it all means. It's pretty stupid when you have to pow wow with two or three managers to get a decent guess at what the bill is trying to say. It's a definate case of information overload being used to hide the real content from customers.

Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Europe (5, Interesting)

soccer_Dude88888 (1043938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204827)

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (5, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204905)

The thing that I find even more disturbing than the $3000 bill is this: "I'm a web developer as part of my career and I couldn't even tell you how many KB the average web page is, no less a text message to my son, an e-mail with a photo to my mother, or a quick check of Google Maps." I can only assume that optimization isn't in this guy's vocabulary.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (5, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205009)

I don't know, that doesn't seem too unreasonable. I mean, I could take a pretty good guess at how big the web pages I write are and how big the images I use are, but just by glancing at any random webpage I don't think my guess would be pretty accurate. Likewise I think it's difficult to guess what would be an "average" size for a webpage. There are just too many variables involved.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205037)

Web pages are getting ridiculously heavy, thanks to high-speed internet and people feeling that they don't have to optimize - "it takes away from the experience."

The same can be said for server loads - page generation is going backwards in terms of cpu usage. I've seen php scripts that end up #including almost 100 other scripts ON EVERY PAGE LOAD!!!

This is insane.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205299)

Web pages are getting ridiculously heavy, thanks to high-speed internet and people feeling that they don't have to optimize...

Actually it's because they're so heavily laden with advertising. Blocking the ads speeds things up considerably. In fact, when possible, I block everything that's not on the page I'm visiting. I don't know if there's a hosts file on the iPhone to edit.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (0, Offtopic)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205405)

Have you tried using 'lynx'? - it is a text based web-browser (though it doesn't support frames). I sometimes use it to get files down quickly without the hassle of intro flash players, frames and all the other goop that gets in the way of actual information

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (5, Funny)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205559)

I've seen php scripts that end up #including almost 100 other scripts ON EVERY PAGE LOAD!!!
This is insane.
I agree, nobody in their right mind uses PHP.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204975)

The rep quoted me $.005 per KB
.005 dollars or .005 cents? :P

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (3, Funny)

soccer_Dude88888 (1043938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205019)

doesn't matter. According to Verizon's customer service rep.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205147)

arent they the same?

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205271)

its $0.005 per kb - half a cent per kilobit,or 4 cents per kilobyte (more like 5 cents if you include data tranfer overhead, etc). In other words, $50 per megabyte.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilobit [wikipedia.org]
kb = kilobits, same as mb = megabits, not bytes. kB == kilobytes.

Today's front page of slashdot weights in at 517KB - that's over half a megabyte. At that rate, $3000 is just over 100 page views.

That's why you surf the lighter-weight versions of pages: http://slashdot.org/palm/ [slashdot.org] gives a front page that weighs only 8 KB. A page view at those rates is a dime, instead of $25.00

The slashdot.wml file http://slashdot.org/slashdot.wml [slashdot.org] is even smaller - 1,471 bytes, or 6 cents.

6 cents for a page using wml, a dime using wap, or $25.00 for "the full experience."

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (2, Informative)

alienw (585907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205323)

If you really want to get anal, mb is not megabits, it would be millibits (which doesn't make much sense, but hey). The mega prefix is always a capital M.

Re:Someone got $3000 bill for using iPhone in Euro (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205409)

I *was* going to include MB for megabytes, just to get all the case modders going "Its MotherBoard, you f%@#tard!", but its not Tuesday :-)

XO communcations (4, Funny)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204831)

Every month for the last six years, I have received a bill from XO communications for -$846.52, for a line that I canceled which had a billing error on the closing statement. I thought about calling them to try to get it fixed, but I figured that would probably take several hours of navigating phone trees and getting transferred from one retarded support rep to the next. Easier to just toss them.

I also got a refund check one time from PacBell for $0.01.

Re:XO communcations (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204867)

Holy shit! If you're receiving bills every month for -$846.52 I think you need to sick a collections agency on their ass!

Re:XO communcations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205063)

I think you mean "recycle" ;)

Re:XO communcations (0, Redundant)

Wookietim (1092481) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205413)

-$846.52 = they owe you money.... Maybe you should try to collect? I'm sure after a couple bills, they would stop sending them to you!

Re:XO communcations (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205577)

-$846.52? You gain money from XO Communications? Dude! [grin]

Paperless billing (4, Insightful)

PoitNarf (160194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204835)

Now I am extremely happy that I went with their paperless billing option when I signed up for my iPhone.

Re:Paperless billing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204869)

Wow, is it possible to switch to paperless billing? How?

Re:Paperless billing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204949)

Easy: just log into your provider from your iPhone, COPY the personal code it'll give you and PASTE it over the page requesting authentication. BTW: you will need to leave a VOICE RECORDING of agreement, just for legal purporses.

Re:Paperless billing (4, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205535)

You and I define "easy" differently.

Re:Paperless billing (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205511)

Switch to the Chinese miniOne when it comes out. I am not a fan of the communists, but I'd rather retire early and have a miniOne, than go bankrupt with iPhone and AT&T.

Re:Paperless billing (5, Funny)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204897)

But who'll be laughing when they have years worth of paper for the fireplace to see out the nuclear winter!

bills, surcharges, and carbon footprints (3, Interesting)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205143)

I'm surprised they haven't added a "paper and/or postage surcharge" for a 50+ page bill. I know it requires extra postage, but can one even mail a 50 page document using a standard envelope?

Considering how much the environmental activists pressured Apple to use "greener" manufacturing and packaging, I'm a little surprised they're not taking Apple & the carrier to task for this remarkable waste of paper. I would think there's as much material in one 50-page bill as the iPhone packaging! One or two bills therefore completely undoes any of the efforts to make the product packaging more efficient. Penny wise, pound foolish, as they say.

Re:Paperless billing (5, Funny)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205163)

Somehow, in the event of global thermonuclear war, I don't think anybody'll be wishing there was more fire.

AT&T Billing (4, Interesting)

fatman22 (574039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204859)

Somewhere down inside the quagmire that is AT&T's billing system, you'll probably still find an active tariff for leasing crank-style (think "Lassie") phones to customers. It has never been updated to intelligently handle more recent uses of their communications systems, and heaven forbid you should ever ask one of their people to explain a charge or how to lower the cost of your "service". That's one of several reasons I refuse to do business with them anymore.

Re:AT&T Billing (1)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204903)

This is not AT&T wireless, this is Cingular. They bought the AT&T name.

Re:AT&T Billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205121)

This is not AT&T wireless. They bought the AT&T name.

Not exactly. [wikipedia.org]

Re:AT&T Billing (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205137)

You're apparently unfamiliar with Cingular's genesis. Cingular started as a merger between AT&T wireless and BellSouth Mobility (and other companies too)

I believe that bellsouth took hold of the company for a while, and thus, Cingular is no better than AT&T

Part of the softening-up process (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204883)

They're preparing you for the day when they start data usage charges. "Unlimited usage" might be just an introductory rate plan. The telcos want to charge you for every download, and clearly they have the billing system in place to do it. You think they went to all the trouble to implement that when it doesn't generate revenue?

Re:Part of the softening-up process (1)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205045)

Doubt it. AT&T already has a pay as you go option, assuming you don't have a PDA phone or iPhone. They may bump the price of the unlimited option but I highly doubt the unlimited plans will ever go way. After all, $20 for the iPhone data plan or $30 for a PDA plan is still highway robbery for such a slow link (assuming edge.)

Re:Part of the softening-up process (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205089)

I think it might be the way around - they had it all in the place already, for full scale proper rip-off and somehow it turned out that their bill generating software was easier to update just by including a class of traffic charged at 0.00 per anything than instead omit it being 'registered' or 'reported'...

One more thing where USA is waaay behind the rest of the world - most operators in europe has whitelists of data destinations that will be served, recorded but not exposed/charged to the user long time ago. What happens in the third world countries where the [billing] systems are relatively new (when compared to the 'established' world) is an even more interesting thing... (cutting edge stuff like networks supporting both EDGE and UMTS, just for sake of doing so...)

Re:Part of the softening-up process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205333)

They're preparing you for the day when they start data usage charges.


You may have a point. If that's the case, they are probably considering different rates based on the type of data download (e.g. mp3, video, other). It would be interesting to know if anyone got a data type other than "Data" on their bill.

Re:Part of the softening-up process (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205389)

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence...

Um, no (0)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205421)

They're not "preparing" anyone for anything.

This will remain unlimited, period, and it's not introductory. The only way devices like this make sense is with unlimited data, and they have had unlimited data plans for similar handsets and devices for years. Competition with carriers that offer unlimited, high speed wireless data (Sprint, Verizon) is only increasing.

They've had this detailed billing system in place forever, and - newsflash - there are millions of AT&T/Cingular handsets out there that do NOT have unlimited data, and get billed for it. They may "want" to charge you for every download, but the clear trend has been toward flat rate, and bandwidth - even wireless bandwidth - is only getting cheaper.

This is flat rate and unlimited, and that's not changing. The fact that AT&T still shows you the detailed billing is an example of stupidity and an exercise in redundancy, not part of any "softening-up" process, or proof of anything.

I literally can't believe the parent got modded up.

It's called detailed billing (5, Informative)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204887)

and you can have it removed by a single request to customer service. What a non-issue. Of course, if detailed billing wasn't offered by default, I'm sure there would be people whining that they're not being told where their charges are coming from.

Re:It's called detailed billing (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204993)

It's called detailed billing and you can have it removed by a single request to customer service. What a non-issue. Of course, if detailed billing wasn't offered by default, I'm sure there would be people whining that they're not being told where their charges are coming from
Yeah... except it doesn't give you any useful details. As for people complaining if it weren't the default, what the fuck are you talking about? Other companies manage to provide a common-sense billing system without being drowned in a sea of complaints, so what possible reason do you have for thinking it would happen now?

Re:It's called detailed billing (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205489)

Actually, lets say that your business provides your phone. Though the data provided isnt exactly very detailed in the TYPE of data you are sending/receiving, it indicates data usage. Inotherwords, your employer has a very good idea of how much time you waste surfing the web/msging/etc during company time.

Re:It's called detailed billing (2, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205575)

Surely that could just as easily be attained by a simple summary of data sent/received each month. If a company doesn't trust an employee beyond that it seems to me they probably shouldn't be giving him a business phone at all.

I certainly doubt that a company would want that information in paper form - for a reasonably sized firm you'd probably need a whole team of people dedicated to just reading and analysing the bills if it was paper rather than a digital, computer-digestable format (and of course what would a computer do with such information? - summarise it into a couple of lines or relevant data!).

Even in the unlikely event that a company or an individual wanted the absurdly-over-the-top style of billing on paper it seems logical that it should be by request, not the default.

Re:It's called detailed billing (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205039)

some people like to see what calls were made and to where - the entire point of detailed billing. nobody needs to see non descriptive data charges to bury all the phone calls. Either say what site youvisited, or ditch the data logging- but not the whole detialed billing feature.

Re:It's called detailed billing (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205171)

I have detailed billing from Verizon wireless, and it doesn't give me my data usage ad nauseam, it simply lists the details I care about, like..you know...phone calls?

Re:It's called detailed billing (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205457)

Any reasonable person would interpret "detailed billing" to mean details about what you're being billed. If an item costs $0.00, it isn't being billed. There should be one line saying "Unlimited data transfer - $xx.yy".

They want you to know that they know (5, Funny)

tzonic (1141125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204889)

Maybe this is a subtle way of saying: yes, we keep track of everything. Your world delivered [to the NSA].

How is this insightful? (1, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205473)

This isn't a subtle way of saying anything.

And no, it's not "something that needs to be brought up" (I can hear it now) whenever someone talks about AT&T.

If anything, AT&T wouldn't want to remind people of this. (No, wait...let me guess: they do want you to know, because AT&T is part of the corporate/government machinery that wants to get the "sheeple" "used to" being monitored, right? Give me a break.)

The only thing "subtle" here - or not so subtle, actually - is someone taking an opportunity to again bring up the AT&T/NSA issue again in a completely and utterly unrelated context.

It's a detailed billing system that has to exist to, you know, bill for data usage, being used on handsets with unlimited data plans, quite ridiculously, when not needed.

Warrantless Wiretapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204891)

That is why they send you those privacy policy notices.

This is no surprise (2, Insightful)

Pete LaGrange (696064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204893)

My cingular bill has been like this for ages, every single transaction listed without regard for charges. I finally convinced myself that too much information is better than too little.

AT&T are too kind (1, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204899)

There's nothing wrong with being thorough and precise. I think people would complain more if it was the opposite; no details whatsoever. Unfortunately, AT&T decided to do this the paper route instead of just supplying its customers with online, on-demand details. After all, no iPhone owner lacks an internet connection.

Re:AT&T are too kind (2, Interesting)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205075)

"AT&T decided to do this the paper route instead of just supplying its customers with online, on-demand details."

Well, first of all they do have paperless billing online. But not everyone has internet connection, or high speed internet, and I tell you from experience, you need broadband to pull one of those bad boys down. Second, I'm not sure I'd want to try to pull all that information via the iPhone given how big the file will be....you're next bill may be a little more pricey.

Re:AT&T are too kind (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205189)

iPhone gives unlimited data, eh?

Re:AT&T are too kind (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205221)

I didn't realize it got unlimited data. But we'll see how long that lasts. It's only fair to offset the incredible price of the phone.

Re:AT&T are too kind (2, Interesting)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205273)

Actually, the vast majority of cell phones at retail cost $400-500

Most providers just subsidize the phone cost into your contract, if you take the sale price.

"Fair" would be not having to have a contract.

Re:AT&T are too kind (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205393)

Well, the GOphones aren't that expensive. Go Phone prices [gophone.com]

Re:AT&T are too kind (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205503)

They also aren't all that great, and they tend to bite you in the ass if you use it a lot.

AT&T == NSA monitoring (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204911)

This level of detail is not only "mind-numbing" in is inconvenience, but should alarm anyone concerned with the privacy of their communications. AT&T has a dismal track record with respect to warrantless governemnt data mining, and it disconcerting that they relay such detailed monitoring for their billing records (even when there is no charge). You can be assured that such records are conveniently feeding the data mining engines at the NSA.

That's a real problem, but it's unrelated. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205077)

The billing system HAS to keep track of all of this to properly bill for non-unlimited access. Furthermore, it has to keep track of this for unlimited billing customers because plan changes do NOT come through instantly. Usually plan changes come in once per day.

Also, there's absolutely no reason for Cingular to be sharing their billing data with the NSA when the modus operandi for wiretapping in the land-line world has been to simply provide a live copy of all the switch data as it comes through. I doubt that the NSA wants the billing records considering how many calls were just simply stripped out to prevent bug-created billing problems from overbilling the customer at the cell phone company I worked for. The NSA would probably prefer the raw records to draw their own conclusions from.

Re:AT&T == NSA monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205085)

Bullshit.

This level of monitoring is the norm across the boards. Name one web server that doesn't, by default, log every connection, including IP address of the originator? Name one ISP that doesn't log IP address combined with customer record?

Sure -- privacy issues abound. But I'd bet people would bitch and moan long and hard if they were to call up their ISP or phone company and be unable to get customer support because there wasn't an association between account and activity and, thus, no way to actually figure out where the problem lies without having to ask a bunch of inane questions on every call.

The Truth Comes Out (5, Funny)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204913)

AT&T hates trees.

Re:The Truth Comes Out (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205401)

Agreed... just think about how many trees the Yellow Pages kills

'Kansas City Shuffle'.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204917)

we're looking at the many-pages bills (a non-issue that I'm sure at&t will fix very soon, given the waste of paper etc.), while others are looking at whether they want to send in their iPhone for a long repair, or just wing it with a slowly dying touchscreen; http://news.google.com/news?q=iphone+screen [google.com]

(
http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7008165081 [allheadlinenews.com]
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=41629 [theinquirer.net]
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf50 0/200708100542DOWJONESDJONLINE000374_FORTUNE5.htm [cnn.com]
http://news.com.com/8301-13579_3-9757844-37.html [com.com]
)

Summary: Apple purchased the touchscreen tech from a Finnish company that had plans for a similar type of device but was in serious financial trouble. At the time of purchase, the Finnish company made it clear that one of the issues was that the heat-activated chemical yadda used would deteriorate, rendering any area where it has done so completely unusable. The problems described / etc. so far appear to be this particular issue, meaning that Apple possibly hasn't completely solved this issue since the purchase. If this is the case, then many more cases are likely to follow. As the iPhone has no buttons, it effectively becomes a brick, meaning that 'winging it' has to be done with broken wings. At least Apple 'fixes' them as fast as they get them.. but if the replacement simply gives you the same problems, well...

Re:'Kansas City Shuffle'.. (1)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205015)

This has exactly what to do with AT&T billing practices?

Re:'Kansas City Shuffle'.. (4, Funny)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205461)

  Joke==>
        0
       -|-
       / \
       You

Hidden charges and "mistakes" (3, Insightful)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204921)

It'll make it easier to slip in a $1 charge here and a 25 cent charge there. Few people read those bills and making them longer and filled with useless data like this will make it harder to find the signal in the noise.

Re:Hidden charges and "mistakes" (2, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205041)

Good point. Probably the first one will be $1.25 for "paper bill"...

Re:Hidden charges and "mistakes" (1)

do_kev (1086225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205103)

>> It'll make it easier to slip in a $1 charge here and a 25 cent charge there. Few people read those bills and making them longer and filled with useless data like this will make it harder to find the signal in the noise. While I suppose that is in theory true, I sincerely doubt that a company the size of AT&T would risk the repercussions they would face by doing that. It is more likely that as another poster mentioned they plan to bill for these items in the future, or that they simply want to provide a thorough bill.

Re:Hidden charges and "mistakes" (1)

do_kev (1086225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205131)

*since my other post omitted br tags and was thus unreadable..*

>> It'll make it easier to slip in a $1 charge here and a 25 cent charge there. Few people read those bills and making them longer and filled with useless data like this will make it harder to find the signal in the noise.

While I suppose that is in theory true, I sincerely doubt that a company the size of AT&T would risk the repercussions they would face by doing that. It is more likely that as another poster mentioned they plan to bill for these items in the future, or that they simply want to provide a thorough bill.

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20204923)

Just counting down to the moment an Apple fanboy comes on here and tells us this isn't ridiculously stupid and wasteful but rather a radical design advancement for billing and its not Apple's fault if us non-designer pedestrians are too low-brow to 'get' it.

Score zero... (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204957)

5... 4... 3... 2... 1...(Score:0).

How fitting.

Re:5... 4... 3... 2... 1... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204967)

Just counting down to the moment an Apple fanboy comes on here and tells us this isn't ridiculously stupid and wasteful but rather a radical design advancement for billing and its not Apple's fault if us non-designer pedestrians are too low-brow to 'get' it.

Can't defend AT&Ts actions here, but I would say all those things above if they sent your bill electronically to your iPhone and allowed you to flip through all 104 pages of it using coverflow... : p

Re:5... 4... 3... 2... 1... (3, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204971)

Not sure why it's anything to do with *Apple* at all.

There are apparently some ancient (ie regarding POTS calls) laws about what has to be reported to the customer. AT&T is just obeying the law. If you think it's a stupid law (hint: for datacomms, it is), then sign up for e-billing and save a forest or two...

Who knows, in some other reality, AT&T might even pass on some savings to you if you do... No postage, no paper costs...

Simon

Getting our money's worth (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204941)

I wonder if the spy reports provided to the NSA are equally detailed?

I can see it now:
12:34PM from:Terrorist_xyz to:Person_123 type:voice content:voice

How Ironic... (1)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204969)

Apple tries to sell devices for their 'simplicity'.

AT&T bills you in terms of 'complexity'.

Come to think of it, if I were AT&T and I knew that the iPhone was a device for 'simplicity', maybe I could hide lots of charges in an overly extravagant, yet useless 100 page bill. If I like my life simple, am I going to be able to handle the 100 page phone bill? Maybe AT&T is expecting simple me to see a 100 page bill, think to myself 'oh my god I wanna cry' and pay it without trying to find the bajillion hidden charges. I've heard the iPhone bills aren't cheap at all. Is this a coincidence that this is happening?

It's not just the iPhone... (2, Informative)

HebrewToYou (644998) | more than 6 years ago | (#20204997)

This issue has little to do with the iPhone and much to do with AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless' odd record keeping. My BlackBerry service also generates a massive bill -- length, not cost -- every month. Nothing new here, folks.

Maybe they just sent out the wrong copies.... (3, Funny)

dyfet (154716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205027)

Maybe those were the copies that were supposed to be sent to the NSA...

of course (1)

XiX36 (715429) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205043)

when they get the billing system worked out, instead of saying "type of data: data" it will now read "type of data: pr0n"

Type of File? Data. (4, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205053)

For instance, I know that on July 27 at 3:21 p.m. I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as Data Transfer. The Type of file? Data.
Really? On my bill, every single line says "Porn"

- RG>

Side on Shots (1)

Nexum (516661) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205073)

I found the shots on the Ars webpage pretty useless - surely a side-on shot would be better? Anyone want to link a better photo of these slabs of dead tree?

The data is free (5, Funny)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205079)

But the charge you $15/page for the bill!

Spend $1 to earn $0.50 (1)

Masque (20587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205083)

In the AT&T contract details for the iPhone plans there is a little gem: You pay $0.50 for each "message" over 300KB. It doesn't clearly define what a "message" is. This kind of paper trail, however, would let you see exactly when you sent that "message", and would allow them a little firmness to the ground on which they'd be standing. "See? On 8/15/07 at 2150 you sent 302KB. That'll be $0.50 please."

I wonder if their gains from this billing pay for their costs in sending such bills.

Well. (1)

vistapwns (1103935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205111)

This might explain why the bill is iphone high. Stupid louisiana brain deathers.

Re:Well. (1)

carpe.cervisiam (900585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205319)

sorry, I just don't get the "Stupid louisiana brain deathers." reference.

Electronic Bills (1)

squidguy (846256) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205113)

For the record you can get your bills via email from Cingular err AT&T but you have to explicitly request a turn off of paper billing. I think they'd prefer to go this route because it costs them less but I suspect US consumer protection laws (and possibly the FCC, which controls tariffs) require paper by default.
What's the big deal here anyway? If they didn't provide the detailed billing info some asshat on this forum would be complaining about that too!

Same with Charter Cable Phone on Unlimited Plan (3, Insightful)

Proudrooster (580120) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205115)

Yep, sign up for Charter FREE UNLIMITED LONG DISTANCE and get an itemized bill of all your long distance and zone calls. I think this is so the marketing drones can pull the run out from under you at some future date and point out HOW MUCH FREE SERVICE you have been getting. It appears that companies just want to keep their options open in-case they decide to eliminate or charge MORE for the FREE UNLIMITED SERVICE.

Now that we know this, we should have a contest and see who can generate the largest bill.

Re:Same with Charter Cable Phone on Unlimited Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205157)

rug. pull the rug.

Obviously... (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205117)

I had some data use that, under the To/From heading, AT&T has helpfully listed as Data Transfer. The Type of file? Data. My total charge? $0.00. This mind-numbing detail goes on for 52 double-sided pages (for 104 printed pages!) with absolutely no variance except the size of the files.'
You probably signed up for the 'hideMyPr0n (tm)' option. Obviously it can't actually lie (that could itself trip you up - 3 hours and 230 meg on BaptistHymns.com when you're a Catholic priest!). So it just displays the information in as generic and meaningless (and hence plausibly deniable) form as possible. And all for only $27.99 per month! YMMV, VWP.

Forward looking (3, Funny)

griffjon (14945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205145)

You see, ATT is preparing a new content delivery system, so soon your bill may include:

Date - Transfer Method - Type
08/07/2007 - Data Transfer - Data
08/07/2007 - Tubes - An Internets
08/08/2007 - Sneakernet - l33t w4r3zzz
08/08/2007 - Quantum Entanglement - Welcome Basket of Oranges from The New ATT!

and so on. So lay off, they're planning for a much wider array of services no doubt, and what seems contentless now will soon have great meaning!

For every iPhone you buy.... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205213)

we'll cut down a forest in your honor.

Save the trees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205241)

Display the bill on the iphone.

Dead trees (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205293)

This should be an important item in green apple [greenpeace.org] campaign. After all, packaging material is used only once, while a bill repeats every month. iPhone owners should get online bill only through their iTunes account.

It's a feature not a bug... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205365)

It's a mantra to help you relax. Close your eyes and chant the bill:

Data
Zero
Data
Zero
Data
Zero

Not limited to paper bills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205471)

If you choose the pre-paid option when signing up for your iPhone, the good news is they don't send you the items on a paper bill. Instead, they annoy you constantly with them popping up as alerts [youtube.com] on your phone every few minutes.

52 pages thats it?? (1)

ShadowHywind (1028398) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205497)

I do not own a iphone, and My plan is a family plan with 5 phones, Our normal page length is about 180-200. 3 out of the 5 phones are normally just 2-3 pages. With the other 2 phones taking up the rest. You can check the same details online, Cingular should have a option to just send out one page saying how much you owe. And give you a credit for opting out of a paper bill

Normal (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20205549)

ATT is trying to be business friendly with this. They need to offer such bills so IT and AP can make sure money is being well spent.

faairlzors! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20205569)

knows that ever *BSD is dyi8g It is
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