AT&T's iPhone business tax is useless

July 18, 2008 1:58 PM EDT

Almost everyone in my office has an iPhone on personal plans. We all love the productivity that it adds to our lunch breaks and out-of-office time. The company currently reimburses most iPhone plans for employees because they are used for business frequently.

We are investigating whether we should go to the AT&T Business plan for iPhones. After reading over the details, the plan is $15 more for data across the board. AT&T's literature says that this is for 'Enterprisey' things like Exchange access and Cisco VPN. But I already have that with my non-enterprise plan? Not that I need it, our office uses Google for email and an Apple VPN/Firewall. In fact, there is nothing the enterprise plan offers that the regular, off the street iPhone offers as far as I can tell. Here is the marketing copy:

Enterprise Data Plan for iPhone
When using iPhone to access corporate email, company intranet sites, and/or other business solutions/applications.
$45

Corporate Email? - no, I already have this. Exchange support works on the consumer iPhones

Company Intranet? - I can get into any Apple/Windows/Cisco VPN already. Are they offering something I don't get here. No.

Perhaps AT&T is referring to the ability to build and distribute your own apps to internal customers. This wouldn't cost AT&T any more money for data, however, and really wouldn't impact them at all? Is this money passed along to Apple? Perhaps..

The shared minutes and easy billing is what we are really after. But frankly, we could get this with the AT&T family plan and not have to pay the $15/person/month 'tax' for saying it is enterprise.

AT&T's business backend interface isn't spectacular. They do have a nice interface (I've used them for Blackberries before) and it is convenient to be able to see everything in the enterprise portal.

But really? $15/user/month? For 10 employees, that is $3600 over the life of the plan.

Our CFO wants us to get the family plan...

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