When you’re choosing a wireless plan, you’re often faced with a huge decision: unlimited or shared data?
Everything you do on your cell phone uses mobile data, including calling and texting. Mobile data usage is calculated using gigabytes (GB). Voice calls and texts use such a small amount of data that most carriers don’t count their usage against monthly data plans. But for sending pictures, posting status updates, checking email, or just accessing the internet, wireless carriers do keep track of data usage.
Unlimited data is making a comeback, even on plans with Viaero Wireless, which is great for people who always want to be connected. But do you really need all that extra data? Here are a few things to consider when you’re choosing between unlimited and shared data plans.
Check Your Data Usage
The best way to figure out if you really need unlimited data is to figure out how much data you use. This also includes whoever else is on your plan.
If you just send the occasional text email, you can send 50 emails a day for a whole moth and still only use around 20 MB of data (there are 1,000 MB in a single gigabyte). That’s not a lot, in the grand scheme of things.
If you use mobile apps or surf the internet, that’s going to be a little more data. An hour of browsing the web daily for a month can add up to 1.2GB. If you upload photos, it can be even more.
If you’re streaming music or video, that data can add up really fast. Depending on the quality of the stream (SD video versus HD video), you can use between 120 MB and 2 GB for just one hour of video. If you spend 30 minutes a day watching your favorite show in HD while using mobile data, you can easily eat through 30 GB of data in a single month.
You should not count any data your phone uses when you are connected to Wi-Fi. Using the internet on your phone via a local wireless hotspot does not register as mobile data usage. Only consider the data you use when you’re away from a Wi-Fi connection.
Visit Viaero’s mobile data calculator to get an idea of how much data you use.
Choose: Less or More
Unlimited data plans offer mobile consumers unlimited talk, text, and data. Instead of paying for data by gigabyte, you pay a flat monthly rate per line. The real benefit of unlimited data plans is no limit, which means no surprise charges if you use more data.
But you have to be careful with unlimited data plans. Some carriers limit their unlimited plans by slowing down your data once you hit a certain limit. You might not think it’s a big deal to lose data speed, but it can a real pain to drop from 4G to 3G just for using “too much” data. At Viaero, there’s no such thing as “too much” data. (We will only slow speeds if our network is congested, and only if we absolutely have to.)
Shared Viaero plans are better suited for less data consumption. Data buckets offering 1, 2, 4 and 8 GB may be better options depending on your mobile use.
If you consistently use talk, text and emails, in addition to semi-regular mobile browsing and modest media streaming, you may only need around 2 GB per month. A shared plan may make more sense in this case.
Compare the Price
If you use a lot of data or you want the peace of mind that comes with no data overage fees, then an unlimited data plan may be an excellent choice for you or your family. But you should always check to see if your data usage warrants spending the extra money for unlimited data.
Viaero’s unlimited data plan is just $100 for two lines at $50 per line. For comparison, getting 8 GB for two lines on Viaero’s shared data plan starts at $85 a month.
This goes for other carriers too. Unlimited data is great, but only if you need it. Make sure you know how much data you’re actually going to use before you jump into an unlimited plan.