By Greg Mills
AT&T, (No Bars in More Places) and Verizon (Can you hear me now?) have both been phasing out unlimited data plans because of the wasteful habits of a few customers. Those who have a habit of watching streamed movies over the cell network have screwed up the situation for the rest of us.
I recently went to an AT&T 250 Megs a month iPad data program for $15 a month, instead of the phased out $30 unlimited program I was on before. My usage was close enough to the 250 Meg limit on the old plan that I was wasting about half my iPad subscription money each month.
While I average about 250 Megs a month, sometimes circumstances cause me to go over. When that happens AT&T is good enough to bombard me with constant reminders that my data is just about used up and they offer to charge my credit card for another 250 Megs.
The information on Data rolling over into the next month seemed hard to find at AT&T.com so I called them. The broken English speaking lady I talked to assured me data does roll over to the next month.
I resolved to make AT&T pay for ending the unlimited program by simply turning off the cellular network when I have used up my monthly allotment of data until the next month starts. Spending 50 cents a day for data on my iPad vs a dollar a day will add up over the course of a year. I try to use WiFi instead of the AT&T network to conserve data for when I really need it. You can turn data off by going to the settings screen of iPad, Cellular Data, touch the on button.
I hope my daughter doesn’t read this, but she consumes both food and data like there is no tomorrow. She is one of those 12 year olds going on 16. Her iPhone, while not subscribed to a cellular service is warm to the touch due to streaming NetFlix and U-Tube over our WiFi. Thank goodness for unlimited cable modem service. So you see why I worry when she prys my iPad out of my hands.
Associated Press published a story today that confirmed what I already knew, streaming anything uses gobs of data. See: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/07/07/which-apps-consume-most-your-wireless-data/
According to research they quoted the data hog apps or features in order of usage; Streaming Video, Streaming Audio, sending and receiving photos, maps updated for GPS, Web surfing, FaceBook if uploading or downloading pictures. Easy on the data are Email, Text, Twitter and weather apps showing radar maps etc…
Obviously downloading new apps is going to eat up data if you do it over the air. WiFi is available in a lot of places, but the security placed on WiFi access can be a problem. Anytime you can go on WiFi instead of using your cellular data allotment, the better off you are.
I live in Kansas City, Kansas where Google is gearing up to offer 1 Gig internet. That ought to keep our home WiFI humming when my daughter is home… That’s Greg’s Bite
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He’s also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustrySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg’s art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org )