Unlimited data is a thing of the past for most smartphone users, and with the introduction of the iPhone 5 many AT&T users in particular are looking for ways to save on new data contracts. We have an undeniable love affair with connected things, pushing data consumption to new heights with the rise of mobile technology. And it’s the carriers that come out the winners.
In a report published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it seems more and more Australians are using their carrier subscription to connect to the internet rather than WiFi. The report notes a 24 percent increase in using smartphones to connect to the internet and downloading content.
And that’s just Australia. People all over the world are becoming more dependent on their smartphones for personal or business use, and because of this need to connect, a lot of people go over their monthly allotted data provisions.
In the US, network carriers offer different data plans to suit your data needs, but it comes at a price. AT&T, for example, doesn’t offer unlimited data plans, but those who aren’t that data hungry may be satisfied with a 300MB data cap that would cost $20 per month. But if you go over your allotted data, you’d have to pay another $20 for every 300MB in excess. For a 3GB plan, you’d pay $30 per month, $50 for a 5GB plan, and pay $10 for every 1GB of excessive use in both plans.
AT&T also has a Mobile Share Plan, which offers unlimited Talk and Text plus a shareable data plan ranging from 1GB to 20GB. The thing is, aside from paying for the Mobile Share Plan which starts at $40 per month for the 1GB plan, you’ll have to pay $45 for each smartphone that you share the plan with. So you’re not really saving anything.
You can’t really blame consumers for being data hungry, especially when apps make it so easy to gobble up data. Games and video streaming can be so addictive that you won’t even notice how long you’ve been using your device, or how long you’ve been connected to the internet. So what are consumers supposed to do to prevent going over their monthly data cap and getting charged big time?
Here are some tips to curb your data usage:
Connect to WiFi whenever possible
Whenever there’s a WiFi network available, and you think it’s secure and you won’t be accessing any sensitive information, use that instead of your mobile carrier. It will help you from going over your limit, unless you’re still using a Verizon iPhone 5 that hasn’t been updated. Consumers who were quick to grab Verizon’s iPhone 5 were faced with connection and bill problems when it used up their allotted data even when connected to a WiFi network. Apple already released an update for this issue, so if you haven’t updated your Verizon iPhone 5 yet, you’d better do so.
Do not stream on cellular
With our dwindling attention spans, video-streaming on our mobile device is a great way to pass the time. And that’s when you can get into trouble, as video streaming in particular will eat up a significant portion, or all of your monthly allotted data. Which means the next time you really need to use it for something important, you might go over your data plan. So just stream when you’re connected to WiFi and if you can, save the video to your device so you can watch offline, no data required.
Use a data counter
There’s an app for almost anything these days, including an app that monitors your data consumption. You can try using Onavo Count if you’re using an Android device, it’s available for free on Google Play. There’s also My Data Manager for Android and iOS, and Data Usage which is available for $0.99.
To find out more on how you can curb your data usage, check out 5 Ways to Curb Smartphone Data Overages and Charges.