How to choose a data plan
What is a cell phone data plan?
If you are breathing in the 21st century, then you definitely own a cellular device that is connected to a network and you have a data plan. Therefore, it’s time you know what they are, how they work and how to use it. Data plans are what you buy to get access to the internet and browse on the world wide web. Just like you pay for minutes in a phone call, you pay for data to use the internet. Data plans cover almost everything you do on the internet, using any device.
What is data?
- Data is anything you read, watch or download from the internet. It could be pictures, videos, links, posts, games, anything.
- Anything and everything that has a unit of measurement (bit, byte, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte) all come under the data and affects your data plan in some way or the other.
- All cell phone data plans are measured and priced on the data you have used.
- Using excess data than planned, often leads to one paying the extra premium amount.
How much data do you need?
- Knowing how much data you consume helps you understand what kind of data plan you are going to need.
- One of the best ways to know is trial and error, where you apply for a bigger plan that you estimate you will need and then downgrade it the next time.
- Another way is to apply for a prepaid internet. See how much of the data you run through in a month and accordingly place your plan.
How much does data cost?
- The cost of data is directly related to the amount of data consumed.
- With a prepaid, you will be paying around $80 for 5GB of data.
- A monthly contract will provide you with around 10GB of data for the same price ($80).
- For $35, wireless will give you internet for a month with no data caps. But the mobility is crippled with this plan.
- Therefore, the cost of a data plan depends upon the usage of the internet, whether it’s via a fixed line or mobile.
- There is also a concern exceeding the data cap, which in turn affects the cost.
Where is the data most used?
- It will take up to 50KB of data to update your Facebook feed, 70KB for twitter and 30KB-150KB for Instagram. That’s approximately 0.07GB per month on social media.
- Web browsing of the various websites throughout the month will take no more than 100MB.
- Email is the next best feature used on a smartphone and surprisingly, its monthly usage comes to around 0.02 GB.
- Streaming music and podcasts for two hours a day can consume up to 3.5GB of data.
- Streaming a standard definition video of 60 minutes a day can use up to 8 GB per month and an HD quality video up to 30 GB.
- Data usage on games is pretty subjective and based on the game. Small games like Candy Crush will hardly threaten the data overage.
What are data caps?
- No two people use the internet in the same way. If there is no data cap, the excessive user will make the internet congested and slower for the other one.
- Data caps are set by the internet service provider to set a limit on the usage of the internet.
- When a user exceeds the data cap they need to pay an overage fee, which is usually 10% of the monthly contract.
- If your provider doesn’t charge you extra than he will make sure that your internet is a lot slower for the rest of the term.
- Although, the biggest concern most of the time is exceeding the data cap, which is 2 to 20 GB for a cell phone plan.
How do I monitor my data usage?
- Till this point, you know how much data you use and what kind of package or plan you will need to consider.
- You will also need to monitor your data usage during your plan to make proper adjustments whenever necessary.
- One of the many ways to monitor data usage is downloading apps which are designed for this purpose.
- You can also ask your service provider who will be able to provide an estimate on it by logging in to your account online.
- There are many services send notifications, emails, and messages regarding the data bundle usage.