dlakelan (dlakelan) wrote in dataheads,

Phone usage

Cell phone providers have tons of "deals" that they try to get people to sign up for. Of course the cheaper your plan per minute, the more minutes you're likely to use, but probably only up to a point. Also there are various patterns of usage. Some people don't have wired phones at home for example.

Here's what I've got from my most recent bill:

My balance was $34.52 with taxes etc.

I used 179 total minutes, and 93 of them were "nights and weekends" (unlimited)

I consider myself a low usage person, and there is only one phone on my plan.

This means that my phone is costing me on average 19 cents a minute. I have a home phone with a good long distance plan so I prefer that for calls to friends on weekends.

How many of you optimize your phone plan?

How would you design a survey to model cell phone usage in the general public? what variables would need to be collected? How small a sample could you get away with?

My idea for survey questions:

1) Do you have a cell phone?
2) How many phones are on your plan?
2b) How many of your plan's phones are used by children?
3) How much did it cost you last month?
3a) Is long distance included in your plan or do you pay per minute for long distance?
3b) Do you use phone cards for long distance?
4) How many minutes did you use during regular hours?
5) How many minutes did you use during nights and weekends or other promotional or off peak times?
6) Do you have a home phone?
7) Do you have a long distance plan on your home phone?
8) Do you consider yourself a "very low, low, average, high, or very high" user of cell phones?
9) How old are you?
10) Do you like to talk on the phone?

I think with that data, you could produce a reasonably good statistical model of phone usage that could be used by consumers to choose plans.

My hypothesis is that most people are paying more for their plan than they need to because they buy too many minutes for their actual usage.

What other predictors of phone usage can you think of that should be included in that survey?
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