Ant Pruitt
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Don't Sweat Mobile Data Use So Much (some of you)

I've had a few people over the last month ask me a few things regarding their cell phones.  First, they ask the age-old question of "should I get the iPhone, or the other so-and-so phone?" Next I'm asked "do I need 3 giga-something or 6 giga-something per month?" 

image credit Ant Pruitt

image credit Ant Pruitt

Ok, maybe the people asking me those questions truly know what a gigabyte is (GB). Sorry :) 

I don't want to focus on the first question, but I would definitely like to look at the latter. Our mobile carriers have scared the crap outta consumers. First off they're removing unlimited data plans as if it's really a problem for them. Next they're threatening their customers with fees if the consumer goes over their data limit per cycle. I say "threaten" because the sales teams really sell it to the proposed customer as "you don't wanna go over your limit. We'll get you with more fees." Now let's look at this and allow me to give you a lil' bit of my opinion.

When getting this info from the carrier, find out what the packages are and what the rates are for exceeding the limits.  If your plan is 4GB at $50 per month, then note it. Ask what the actual overage fee is for data. It's probably fairly minimal in comparison.

I know Verizon Wireless charges you an extra $15 per GB used. Which by most average consumers will mean only another $15 in data charges that month. Why do I say this?

First off, 1GB is a LOT of data over a CELL PHONE network for most consumers. I don't care how you slice it. Most consumers are are primarily using email, texting, occasional web browsing and of course their social media connections such as Twitter and that other popular one. Those apps and uses really don't use a lot of data per message, post or what have you. What uses more data is your music streaming and your online video streaming.

Even if you are doing a lot of online music streaming and video streaming, be mindful when you're doing so. I'm sure most of you have WiFi at your home. Most phones can connect to WiFi.  I bet some of you even have WiFi available at your jobs. So there's a pretty strong chance you're not using a lot of mobile data, if half of your day is spent on some form of WiFi.

"Well Mr. Pruitt, we have 4G speeds and that can really chew through your data package," says a mobile carrier sales rep.  Sure, buddy. I'm gonna fall for that. NOOOOPE. I will not fall for that and neither should you. Just because your network is giving you 4G speeds, that doesn't always mean you'll reach your cap faster.  It just means your network is faster. If you're going to use your phone for typical use (email, texting, casual browsing and social media) you're probably gonna be just fine.  Remember, those transactions are only using kilobytes of data. Not even megabytes or gigabytes of data.

On the other hand, if you're a user like me that's constantly streaming content from servers online, be concerned about your data. I stream a ton of content during my hour (one way) commute each day. I understand that this could add up and cost me more money. This is why i opted for a larger data plan. This may not be true for you.

In short, don't fall victim to larger monthly bills because your mobile provider muscled you into a larger one. Keep a look out on how much data you use. If you see you're nowhere near your data cap each month, you may be able to opt for a less expensive plan.  Just check with your provider. 

Holla back if ya have any questions. I don't promise to have all the answers, but I don't want any of you swindled into more debt than you need to be in when it comes to your mobile plans.