Many cell phone service providers have announced plans to do away with unlimited data plans in lieu of tiered plans, which are tailored more toward individual usage and which could result in a high price for a smart phone. Some in the blogosphere are outraged, believing that the tiered plans will cost them more. Some experts, however, are standing up for the tiered system. But no matter what the case, there are many things you can do to save money and still carry the Internet in your pocket.
Standing up for tiered pricing
Technology blogger Anson Alex believes that a tiered data plan can be economically more sensible than an unlimited plan. In his opinion, unlimited plans are “equivalent to paying a fixed fee for electricity every month regardless of the amount of electricity you’re actually using.”
Alex went on to defend the tiered system of billing.
“By offering unlimited plans, cell phones companies overcharge the average user while undercharging the power users that, because of their excessive use of mobile data bandwidth, end up driving the cost of data usage up for everyone. With the new, limited, plans those power users will have to pay a fee that much more closely reflects the amount of data they’re actually using. If they pay more, those who don’t use much data at all, pay less.”
Data congestion on a high price for a smart phone
Data congestion is also a problem, especially for those who live in large cities. Impossibly long download times and signal drops are among the most common complaints of smart phone users. This week, to combat bandwidth congestion, Verizon announced it will cut back delivery speed to its top 5 percent of 3G users. AT&T plans a similar move in October, according to PCWorld.
Compression and data tracking
Onavo, a new startup, is offering an app that will give customers a way to monitor their data use without paying extra. Armed with that information, making a data plan choice becomes much clearer. The app also compresses files, allowing a lot more traffic from a limited data plan. The company claims it can double or even triple your smartphone experience. Those claims remain to be seen but are certainly intriguing.
Tips for savings
- Here are some simple tips to use to immediately cut costs on data plans. They come from Catherine New of Daily Finance.
- Download apps from your home computer, never from your phone. That will save data usage fees.
- Don’t use the “push” setting for emails. Set mail to manual settings instead. That will stop your phone from constantly roaming in search of mail and burning up bandwidth.
- Type m instead of www at the beginning of website URLs. This will route you to the more streamlined “mobile” version of the site, designed for smartphone use.
- Use Onavo or a similar app to compress data from apps that are running and to track data usage.
- Don’t watch steaming video on your phone. Nothing burns data faster. And those movies look so much better on your larger monitor at home.