This story from California about a US service man getting a $16,098 phone bill from his wireless cell phone company got me thinking on three different levels.
First, I thought that could easily happen to my phone bill since I have two sons about the same age as the US soldier in the story who both use their cell phones for just about everything you can think of except talking.
Second, what was the guy really doing with his phone that jacked the bill up so high and do I or any of my employees do the same thing?
Third, are there any safety measures set up on my own business wireless cell phone accounts (I use Verizon for seven business cell phones) to prevent the same sort of "bill shock" from showing up in my mailbox next month.
How Much Data Does the Average Employee Use or Need Every Month?
Surprisingly little I think. I honestly had no idea (nor did I seem to think I needed to care) since I still had Verizon's "unlimited" data plan on most of my businesses smart phones.
After printing out the summary pages of my business cell phone bill for the last four months I discovered that for seven business cell phones the total was under five gigs of data per month total. The range was quite large though as my own personal data use was under 200 megs a month (just 20% of one gig) while my oldest employee (over 70 years old) used seven times what I used at 1.4 gigs.
(It took me a while to discover what "business use" a desk bound 70-year old employee would have for 1.4 gigs of data usage per month. We narrowed it down to either streaming Pandora radio for several hours per day and/or the Scrabble dictionary app.)
I was somewhat relieved to discover though that even the most data hungry power users I knew (all three of my teenage kids and even my brother-in-law who's always video-Skyping his kids from the road) used under 2 gigs a month each - a lot of data but certainly manageable - I think (right?)
How Do You Create a $16,098 Cell Phone Bill?
So now that I've got a handle on my own business cell phone and data usage I go back to thinking, "How'd this poor US serviceman jack up his cell phone bill to over $16,000?" Well if you read the story, it turns out the guy used 1.6 gigs of data in just six days while on leave visiting his parents.