Cell Phone Data Plans & How to Avoid Going Over the Limit

by DPardi on November 21, 2011

Update: For more on cell phone data plans, get further tips on how to avoid going over the limit, and understand what cell phone activities take up in terms of data

It seems like everyone nowadays has a smart phone that can take pictures, surf the web, download apps or play their favorite music. Well if you have a smart phone then you most likely have a data plan for it. Have you ever exceeded the amount of data you were limited to and got charged a massive fee for it? Do you incur these fees often? Well it’s time to defend yourself against those unnecessary and expensive data fees.

What Are My Data Plan Options?

The typical data plans are 250mb, 2gb, and Unlimited. Obviously the higher the data plan the more expensive it is.

Unlimited plans will run you about $80.00 a month for 1 phone.

That’s $80.00 x 12 (Months a Year) = $960!

So in this case, to save money you may want to stick to either the 250mb plan or the 2gb plan.  Now the other issue at hand, is to avoid going over your data plan’s limit. Whenever your phone fetches data from the internet – whether you are checking Facebook, using your phone as a GPS navigation system, watching a video, or searching for things with Google, your phone is using memory from your data plan to do this. You would be surprised how quickly data can be used up. To show you how quickly your data can be used up you can use this Monthly Data Usage Calculator.

According to Nielsen.com, the average data used per month for

Iphone and Android users is around 535mb

What Can You Do To Avoid Going Over Your Data Limit?

After using the monthly data usage calculator, you saw just how quickly you can go over your data limit. So now you may be asking how can I avoid going over the limit? Well, here are a few tips to help:

  • Check your phone’s data usage frequently. There also are some applications that alert you on how much data you’ve used during the month as well. (Ex. DataMan, 3G WatchDog, Data Usage)
  • Do you have a wireless internet signal at home or at work? If so, you can sync your phone to it which avoids data usage because you are using your own internet signal
  • Some apps  are constantly using up data even when you are not using them. Especially apps that use location services that locate where you are (GPS, Traffic report apps, and even Facebook). These are called “Push” applications. Make sure to go through your phone’s settings and shut these applications off manually after using them to avoid data usage.
  • If you are using your phone to kill a lot of time, use a program that uses less data per minute (Ex. Instead of watching a video which uses about 3mb per minute, listen to music or text someone instead, which uses a lot less data per minute).
  • Are you using a lot less data than you are allowed? Maybe you could switch to a lower data usage plan and save some money. (Ex. You average using 100mb a month yet you have a 2gb plan).

Got any other ways to prevent from those nasty overage fees? We want to know! Leave us a comment.

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Dan is the Critical Care Specialist at ACCC. He is a recent college grad who loves to find a bargain and tell people about it. Today, with Facebook, Twitter, and blogging websites, he is able to let those bargains be heard by consumers online. But if you find a great deal, he definitely wants to hear about it.

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