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iRate over iPhone bills

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Tess Vigeland: Have you seen the YouTube clip of that lady who just got her first iPhone bill from AT&T?Three hundred pages? Delivered in a box?

We all get fed up of trawling through our phone bills. Especially those endless taxes and surcharges. But some iPhone users are getting more than they bargained for. And they’re a little . . . i-rate. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: Tyler Dikman just got his first iPhone bill. It’s 49 pages long.

Tyler Dikman: I mean, this is the first bill where I couldn’t put a staple through it in order to file it away.

As for why it’s so lengthy — even though Dikman is paying one price for unlimited calls and data use — the bill breaks out, line by line, every call, text message and Web page download. In tech-speak. He says it’s just not useful.

Dikman: I mean, when I look through this bill, am I ever gonna say, “Oh, on July 12 at 10:03 p.m., I didn’t use 2 kilobytes of data?”

AT&T Wireless spokesman Mark Siegel says the company’s a little surprised by all this fuss:

Mark Siegel: We’re not doing anything differently here than we do for all our other plans, all our other phones.

Siegel says AT&T always breaks down usage information. He says AT&T gave iPhone customers the option of receiving an online bill as soon as they signed up. They can also opt for a less-detailed paper bill.

Adam Zawel of says what may seem like information overload to some makes sense from AT&T’s perspective.

Adam Zawel: What they really don’t wanna get are a lot of customer care calls. Those are very costly for them, and what the customer care calls are normally about are the bills. So if you send them a big itemized bill, well, that’s more likely to answer the questions for them.

He says surprise over the extensive bills comes down a culture clash, with functionality-obsessed Apple fans pitted against the old-school mindset of a phone company.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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