Large carriers are beginning to drop their unlimited data plans as more and more users begin using smartphones to explore the Web and enjoy multimedia content on the go. Unfortunately, this means there are some strict penalties in store for anyone who exceeds the limits of their plan. Verizon has announced that its tiered data plans (more expensive than those of AT&T) are going live on July 7, 2011. This means that everyone using an iPhone (aside from those unofficially using them on T-Mobile) that haven’t been grandfathered in by previous contracts and/or plans are at risk of facing high penalties unless they take some steps to avoid breaking their bandwidth cap. Here are a few tips on how to avoid exceeding the limits of your data plan.
Lower the Frequency at Which Your Apps Update Information
Social apps like Twitter and Facebook update regularly as you go about your day in order to bring you notifications and updates soon after an event occurs on your account. If you follow a lot of people, and frequently interact with members of your social circle, you have probably noticed just how much information flows through these apps on a regular basis. You can reduce the amount of data your phone is transmitting and receiving by making these checks either manually or setting them to occur less frequently.
Disable Push Email Checks
Email is typically a very small part of your overall data usage, though keeping a constant stream of pings and pongs between your mobile phone and the often numerous mail servers you link to can add up to some serious data usage over time. Instead of keeping the flood gates open, you may benefit from setting new mail checks to a time interval between 15 and 30 minutes apart. This will still get you your important messages in a relatively short amount of time without causing you to eat away at your limited bits and bytes.
Use Wi-Fi at Home and Trusted Locations
Also on the subject of email, you should make sure you’re using your email provider’s SSL (secured) options when sending and receiving email from your phone. This will allow you some additional peace of mind when connecting to your local coffee shop’s Wi-Fi or checking your messages from your friend’s house. When it comes to mobile devices, piggybacking on your friend’s home bandwidth can save you money while actively browsing around the Web. This is also the best time to download videos and software updates, as they can severely eat away at your data plan very quickly. When you’re at home, your phone should be set to automatically connect to your wireless network, which puts a complete hold on any data using through your mobile plan.
Be Careful While Tethered
Tethering sounds like such a great idea, and it is on unlimited plans. When you’re facing a hefty fee for exceeding a certain amount, tethering can be the fastest way to drain your bank account if not done carefully. For one, it’s easy to forget that you’re on a limited plan when browsing around on your notebook. Playing online games, surfing YouTube, and video conferencing with friends are serious bandwidth hogs and ill advised when tethering on a limited plan.
Keep Tabs on Your Usage
Most smartphones made today have a built-in function that allows you to check your usage during a specific period of time. Resetting your usage meter at the start of new billing cycles can help you keep tabs on exactly what you have used and can expect to use in days ahead. Carriers may also provide these tools on their Web sites and send you texts as you exceed certain percentages of usage. For example, AT&T will text you when you hit 65% of your data plan’s limit.