What About 2 GB, 3 GB, 6 GB, 10 GB & Even 12 GB?
When AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile & Verizon say you can use 5 GB (gigabytes) or however much data, it’s like telling someone they can have 75,236 calories for the month.
What the heck is that?
If it were daytime minutes then it’s something you’d get right away. Not something that’s super hard to figure out since it’s based on time. That’s something you deal with everyday. On the other hand, who thinks in kb, MB, and GB?
You’ve got a life and time is short. In this article I’ll explain 3 things:
- The 5 Types Of Mobile Broadband Users (& How To Figure Out Which One You Are)
- How To Figure Out If That Data Plan Will Be Enough
- How To Check The Data You’ve Used (& Never Pay Overages To AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile).
By figuring that stuff out, you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom of mobile broadband, work from anywhere and anytime. No more piggybacking on unreliable free WiFi, imposing on friends every time you visit, or being stuck without the net.
On the other hand, if you don’t know how much data you use and how to keep track, then you run the risk of paying being like that kid a couple years back that AT&T billed for $19,370.
To help you get to the info that matters to you most, I’ve included some jumplinks below to get to the good stuff:
- The 5 Types Of Broadband Users | Which One Are You?
- Just The Right Gigabytes | Data Calculators Galore
- How To Check Data Usage | AT&T, Sprint, Verizon & T-Mobile
Depending on whether you’re with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile, you may be looking a 2 GB, 3 GB, 5 GB, 6 GB, 10 GB or even 12 GB plan. I’ll cover how to figure out if each of those plans are enough as well.
The 5 Types Of Broadband Users
Which One Are You?
According to a study by Net-pop, there are five segments of broadband users with unique characteristics.
Understanding which one (or two) you are will give you the laser-like focus you need to cut through cut through the sea of selections available. Not figuring it out can easily leave you studying the unnecessary details of plans for hours.
The 5 types are:
“The content king looks to the Web for entertainment.
Seventy-six percent of the group plays games online, and 75 percent of Web site visits are for personal reasons.
Content kings spend an average 2.5 hours online each weekday”.
If you fall into this category, it’s highly likely that mobile broadband speed is not just something ‘nice’. It’s damn near a requirement.
Without it, your entertainment experience suffers greatly. You’d get booted from games while videos would stop and start every 2 seconds for buffering. Hardly entertaining. You’ll need a reliable network, good latency and great speed.
On top of that, you may need a decent amount of data depending on the kind of content you consume. Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and the like can be major bandwidth blackholes.
Reading websites? Not so much.
“Social clickers, who skew both young and old, use the Internet as a means of communication.
The younger group uses social networking sites, IM, and other messaging tools to socialize, while the older group hinges its Internet use and communications more on e-mail.
Within the group, 78 percent contribute to Internet content or information on a monthly basis. More than half of social clickers’ time (57 percent) is spent on communications. The remainder is spent on news and information (10 percent) and shopping (8 percent)”.
If you can identify with this group, then there’s a good chance you won’t be needing data plans toward the higher end of the spectrum (5 GB plans and up).
Email, IM and social networking don’t use a terrible amount of bandwidth with the exception of HD Video, Skype, Google Hangouts and other video-based communication or consumption.
“The online insider consumes content across the broader Web.
According to the report this person sees the Internet as ‘a rich personal and cultural phenomenon’. Behavior among online insiders is like that of early adopters.
Eighty-six percent contribute to Internet content or information each month, including posting to blogs, community sites, and chat rooms. The group spends upwards of $130 each month on e-commerce”.
This one’s a toss up of sorts.
If you’re an insider, your experience is custom tailored. The advantage here is that you most likely already have a fix on whether or not your online insider activities would require a bunch data. Depending on your activity, you could be a power user, average user or lightweight user.
Figuring it out shouldn’t be too difficult.
If your online activities include a lot of video or audio, then you’ll most likely fall into the power user category. If it includes light video, audio and mostly text/graphics, then it’s likely that you’re average.
Lastly, if it’s just text/graphics, chances are it’ll be light.
“Fast trackers typically use the Internet to seek out news and information.
Content categories include news, sports, and weather. Fast trackers remain loyal to sources with frequent updates and real-time information.
The group reads news online (77 percent). It also typically looks up maps, directions, and public transportation information (66 percent). Reigner said fast trackers use the Internet to research products but typically buy in stores”.
Fast trackers, like online insiders, could also be power, average or light users.
Again, it depends on how you like to get your information. Mostly video? Then you’re a power user. Light video, audio and some text/graphics? Average. Mostly text/graphics? Light.
Last but not the least we’ve got the everyday pro.
“The everyday pro is characterized by personal productivity and efficiency and looks to the Internet to fulfill those needs.
The group adopts complex tools to simplify life. About 84 percent use online banking, and 68 percent purchase from online retailers.
This group is older in age, and they are very much focused on the Internet as a productivity tool. They like to save money and time, and the Internet is a tool for total efficiency.”
If you’re an everyday pro, you’re most likely an average or light user.
The very nature of productivity requires that you cut all the extra fat. Massive amounts of online media/entertainment = extra fat. If you’re online to ‘get ‘er done’ and get out, then you aren’t sticking around long enough to be a power user anyway.
Even if you do consume video and other ‘bandwidth intensive media’, the length of time simply isn’t long enough (with the exception of running large background downloads).
So What Kind Of User Are You?
Chances are you found resonance with multiple categories depending on whether you’d use mobile broadband at work or for recreation.
Keep those scenarios in mind for the next section where you play with the numbers to figure out just exactly how much data you’ll need.
Just The Right Gigabytes
Estimating Usage With Data Calculators Galore
While each of the 4 major carriers have data calculators do basically the same thing, there are slight differences that make each useful in it’s own way.
To get started with any of the calculators, click the respective carrier. Depending on the provider, you’ll need to select whether you’ll be using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or mobile hotspot.
How To Check Data Usage
With AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile
While estimating your data usage in advance is excellent, you’ll also want to be able to check your data usage before the end of your billing cycle to avoid overage charges.
The last thing you need is throttled or billed at these rates:
How To Check AT&T Data Usage
Check data usage online
Go to the My Wireless Usage page for details on your current usage.
- Individual plans – Data usage details can be found by selecting the Usage Details link at the top right of the page.
- FamilyTalk plans – Data usage details can be found by selecting the Usage Details link in the middle of the page.
Check data usage from your wireless phone
- Dial *DATA# (*3282#) from your wireless device.
- Press the Send key.
- A text message detailing your data usage will be sent to your device.
– AT&T Support
How To Check Sprint Data Usage
From your computer
- Login To Your Sprint Account.
- Click My Phone & Plan.
- Click Current Usage.
From your Sprint PCS VisionSM Phone
View your usage via the Web:
- Access Wireless Web from the main menu.
- Select My Account.
- Select My Current Usage.
From any Sprint PCS Phone
Call for an automated summary of your usage:
- Dial *4.
- Follow the voice prompts.
How To Check Verizon Data Usage
What are all of the ways to check my data usage?
You can dial #DATA + SEND from your handset (airtime free) or login to My Verizon to check your data usage.
– Verizon Support
How To Check T-Mobile Data Usage
Check Data Usage via My T-Mobile
- Log in to My T-Mobile with your username and password (the customer already has a laptop stick).
- Perform one of the following options to check usage:
- From the home page:
- In the top-center of the My T-Mobile home page (after you login), your current usage displays in the My Current Usage box. You can click See all usage in the box for additional details.
- In the middle of the My T-Mobile home page, each device on your account appears. You can click Check Usage next to the device you want to view usage for.
- From the top nav bar:
- From the Manage menu, click Billing & Payments to see unbilled usage (for the laptop stick).
- From the middle of the Bill Summary page, click the See activity link.
- Verify that the Minutes Used page appears with unbilled usage details and a summary.
– T-Mobile Support
Found This Helpful? Like, Tweet, +1, Share It With A Friend And Let Me Know In The Comments Below