Time of the month to receive my mobile phone bill. I allocate RM100 for my mobile phone usage, and I get deliriously happy when the total payable amount comes up to less than that. Then I think back of the times when the bills would more than double that amount and I place sweet incense and fresh flowers at an altar dedicated to the Internet gods.
I just had this conversation with my colleagues the other day about the gradual shift in communication mediums. Mobile service providers’ rates are cheaper than say, 5 years ago. Yet sometimes I am unable to use up whatever amount or plan that I committed to. Often I have to remind myself to call and chat with e.g. my mom because (1) she’d emo if I didn’t, and (2) I’d have unused credits that cannot be brought forward to the next month.
These days, my friends and I mostly communicate on-line via assorted instant messengers. Our 9-5 jobs usually involve us staring at a monitor attached to a constantly-connected CPU/ notebook anyway. Dinner outings? Get everyone in a group chat and decide on the location and time. Can be daunting at times because we tend to stray from the main topic, but ultimately it gets the job done. Planning for a weekend getaway or holiday? Mass-email, reply-to-all, reply-to-all, reply-to-all.
In my world, instant messengers, blogs, Facebook and Twitter are effective to keep track of your family members’ daily assorted blah. My sister (1) imparted valuable information on tax-exempted items when I told her that I registered for e-Filing. My sister (2) tells me what Ryan is up to while I’m at work (“Mama, Nicholas says that sharing is caring. You have to share your pear!” then proceeds to eat 3/4 of it). Whenever I see my mom in person, I’d start to tell her about what I did recently and she’d exclaim, “Oh I know, I read it on your blog already!”
Also gone are the days of booking movie tickets via phone. You call up the number, select your language, select the date, select the movies, select the time, wait wait wait, and what do you know – tickets reserved for phone booking are all snapped up. Repeat tedious process for another time or movie. @#&*@# Wasted my time and mobile phone charges.
Granted, it’s nice to hear a loved one’s voice now and then. That’s why I call my mom at least once a week (sucking up). Like I said, it doesn’t cost very much these days. Let’s say I call her every week and we speak for 10 minutes. Even with the most expensive call rate available, that won’t cost more than RM 15 a month. Plus 10 minutes is quite long you know; I reckon we’d hang up after 5 mins or so.
Roaming charges lain kira lah.
Don’t know about you, but I was overpaying my mobile service provider for the longest time. They have all these rate packages and plans that look damn attractive. So I’d subscribe or switch to this or that plan, assuming that I was saving money thanks to the lower rates designed for that particular package. One day I picked up my phone bill and thoroughly studied every item. Then I realised that I was paying an additional RM10 or RM15 for nothing, but I still had to pay it because I committed myself to that package. Damn tulan with myself for not paying attention to details earlier, switched to another package with a higher rate plan but lower commitment fee. Still paying less than what I used to pay before.
Same goes for 3G service. I was shelling out RM99 every month for the unlimited package because I thought I’d use that much. Turned out, I didn’t. Cancelled the service, opted to pay as I use and the usage came up to RM25 a month. Should be lower this month because I opted for the 5MB that costs something like RM8.
Here’s my accounting:
RM 75 voice plan = payable RM 75; then
RM 80 voice + RM 99 data plan = payable RM 179; then
RM 50 voice + RM 99 data plan = payable RM 149; then
RM 50 voice + RM 25 pay-as-used data plan = payable RM 75; then
RM 50 voice + 5MB RM 8 data plan = RM 58 now.
Just checked my bill for this month; total payable is RM 60.xx. So happy.
Okay lah, I’m sure this is a small amount for a lot of you rich geezers out there. But for people like me who don’t get mobile phone calls allowance, every little bit counts! So difficult hor, for Maxis to earn money from me.