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Smartphone data plans - how much data do you use/need?

BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member
edited July 2011 in Parent Cafe
I'm thinking about getting a smartphone (maybe an iPhone 4) and was looking at the plans at AT&T and Verizon. Both companies soak you but I guess you can afford it if you can afford the iPhone.

Do you reasonably need 2 GB, 4 GB, 5 GB? I don't see under 500 MB as being realistic but maybe it is.

I have wireless at home and at the office so I would only use the Wireless Data while not at home and while not at the office. I would like to use Google Voice for phone calls when on WiFi - does the iPhone let you do that? I believe that the Android phones allow you to do that.
Post edited by BCEagle91 on

Replies to: Smartphone data plans - how much data do you use/need?

  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,721 Senior Member
    It really depends. DH uses around 70-100 MG. I usually use around 200-300. Neither of us sit around at home using the data plan on our phone. We use it for GPS when we need it - not often. I use Pandora when I exercise. Sometimes we use it when we are on the road to look for restaurants, answer questions etc. But usually it's faster and easier to use an actual computer.
  • pierre0913pierre0913 Registered User Posts: 7,652 Senior Member
    BCEagle91, what about Sprint or T-Mobile? With Sprint you can get unlimited data and T-Mobile you can get unlimited data as well (though only some at high speed aka 4G depending on how much you pay, afterwards you get throttled). There are some really nice phones on Sprint and T-Mobile that won't make you miss the iPhone. With Sprint there is the HTC Evo 3D (3D camera on a phone? that's sick). With T-Mobile, there is the HTC Sensation 4G, probably the best android phone out there right now.

    Personally, I think T-Mobile has the best priced plans at the moment for smartphones. $79.99/month for unlimited talk/text and 2 GB of 4G data and afterwards slowed down internet (unlimited though). If you only need 500 minutes, you can get it for $69.99/month and if you only need 200 mb of 4G data, its $59.99/month. Try getting that on AT&T and Verizon.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member
    I'll take a look at them.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 32,798 Senior Member
    BC, my ATT unlimited plan is "grandfathered in", but I do not use too much data. I reset my data counter in february, and since then I "recieved" 900 MB and "sent" 3.5 GB. I use my phone mostly for wasting time on CC and shopping while I'm on the bus, calls, texting to D, and work-related email. I hardly ever watch any video content on it. I'd say if you do not use your phone for streaming YouTube videos and oher data- heavy activities, you'll be fine with 1-2 GB per month.
  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    I have the Verizon iPhone 4. I use the internet on the phone quite frequently for checking e-mail, reading news, checking Facebook etc. (Also CC when I'm on the train.) I never use streaming video, and have used streaming audio (Pandora) very rarely. I use about 600 MB of data per month.

    I have used Skype to make calls from my iPhone where I've had Wi-Fi connectivity. I assume if Skype works, Google voice will work, as well.
  • pierre0913pierre0913 Registered User Posts: 7,652 Senior Member
    here's AT&T's data calculator (might help you out?): AT&T Data Calculator
    Verizon's: http://www.verizonwireless.com/splash_includes/datacalculator.html

    couple ways I've saved data:
    -Turn it off when you don't need it (duh), there may be gaps in wi-fi coverage and the phone will use data during these points.
    -Turn off automatic syncing of emails, twitter, facebook etc... Only sync when you need to.
    -Use Opera Mini for your web browser
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Registered User Posts: 8,573 Senior Member
    It varies tremendously depending on how you end up using the smartphone. If you only connect occasionally to check the news you won't use much but if you plan to watch movies on your smartphone the traffic goes up considerably.

    The majority of my usage is at home on the wireless since I only use it as a phone or for the occasional text when I'm at work.

    I don't think I use much on my AT&T iPhone but mine's grandfathered into the unlimited plan so I don't pay much attention to it.

    I think most providers are happy to bump you up on the data plans so you could start small, monitor it very closely so you don't go over, and upgrade the data plan if you think you don't have enough. Don't count your first few weeks as typical since you're likely to use the bandwidth more then while you're discovering and playing than you will when the smartphone is old hat.
  • sunnydayfunsunnydayfun Registered User Posts: 568 Member
    My 150MB for $15/mon data plan with Verizon is grandfathered in also. I keep 3G-data off all the time. I turn wifi on manually and use wifi only at home. i use 3G-data mainly for GPS or when I am at a place where wi-fi is not available. I download apps at home with wifi. I have not used more than 100 MB per month on my Android which I have had since Jan.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    It depends on what you are going to use it for. If you do heavy video use, 2 gig may not be enough, for example, if you use 3G or 4G to get it.I am not talking looking occassionally at You Tube videos, I am talking streaming movies and other heavy data users. With 4G, if you viewed a HD level movie for an hour you would hit 2 gig (that is verizon's own calculation).

    To keep under this data limit, don't use 3G or 4G for watching movies and such. Easiest way to save is to keep 3G or 4G off and use wifi unless you absolutely need to use it (the GPS function is pretty nice, or being able to look things up).

    One of the ironies of high speed wireless is that Amazon and Apple and Netflix are promoting using the "Cloud" to store music and videos, including things like tv shows and movies on the Apple "I cloud" and not having to store them locally. So they are promoting for example watching a movie on an Ipad, potentially over 3G (or 4G if Apple ever has a 4G phone) that could wipe out you data limits in an hour or so. Even streaming a lot of music could add up.

    The carriers claim that 98% of their users use less then 2 Gig and that probably is true, but that was before all this big push to 'the cloud' and so forth is happening and where tablets and such are becoming the method to watch things like movies and such, they are justifying their data cutoffs based on what existed, not what is happening.

    What is worse is I have heard rumblings that ISP's i.e your internet provider (i.e Verizon FIOS, Cablevision, etc, etc) are talking about data limits on your home wired access, and I have heard some grumbling that they may use the same 2 gig cap that wireless users face (I would hope if they have data limits, it is more like 2 terra bytes or something). I suspect some of this is being used to either charge users more, or extort money for tiered services from Amazon and Apple and the like, basically get them to pay so data rates don't apply to their services (though I am sure any money they extort from them will end up on our bills)
  • fendergirlfendergirl Registered User Posts: 4,694 Senior Member
    I have an unlimited plan with verizon that I'm grandfathered into.... but it's not compatible with the new smart phones... go figure... ;(
  • pierre0913pierre0913 Registered User Posts: 7,652 Senior Member
    hmm wonder how a data plan can be "not compatible".......stupid companies that just want your money
This discussion has been closed.