Thursday, November 3, 2011

How To Never Bust Through Your Smartphone’s Data Cap Again

Gizmodo - Unless you’re a Sprint customer—or you’re grandfathered into an unlimited data plan—you’ve only got 2GB of mobile data to play with before you go broke or get throttled. Here’s how to keep from going over your cap.

The consequences of using more data than your carrier wants can be scary—and expensive. AT&T and Verizon start charging $10/month for every 1GB over the cap you go. T-Mobile won’t charge you, but they will throttle your connection to all hell, which for some people is worse. Sprint? Well Sprint is unlimited, so woohoo for that.

But whoever your mobile overlord might be, there are plenty of ways to escape its clutches.



Start with the moment of truth: When you find out what kind of Internet hog you’ve become. Sign into your mobile carrier account (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile) and check your data usage. If you’re like most people, you’re churning through less data than you think. But if you’re like me and your data fluctuates between 400MB one month and 1.6GB the next, you should get ready to start pruning some of your habits.

To keep a semi-accurate account of your phone’s data usage while on the go, carriers have apps that track your data usage. Well, everyone but Sprint, but again, unlimited. For everyone else, download your carrier’s free usage apps: My Verizon (iOS, Android), myAT&T (iOS, Android), or T-Mobile My Account (Android). Knowing how close you are to maxing out is the easiest way to avoid it.



Find free Wi-Fi. Yeah it seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re in the habit of ignoring hot spots when they pop up on your phone, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Coffee shops, restaurants, even some bars offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. And it’s silly simple to find these networks near your work or home and add them to your list of trusted networks.

In iOS, just head to Settings > Wi-Fi and and turn on Ask to Join Networks. When a network is nearby, you’ll be presented with the the option to join. Those without a padlock are open networks. For Android, can download an app to quickly locate free Wi-Fi nearby. Wi-Fi Finder from JIWIRE looks promising.

Side note: it’s good internet citizenry to patronize those establishments. They give you Wi-Fi, you buy a few drinks now and again. The circle of life.                    More