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Is Your Unlimited Phone Plan Worth It?

You have seen the ads, and you MIGHT already pay a certain amount for an unlimited phone plan for you or your family, but is it worth it? Unlimited data sounds like a great deal because no one wants overage charges. There’s also something about the word “unlimited” that makes the plan seem more attractive. Cellphone companies are taking advantage of that word’s power. T-Mobile was first, with a $70 per month (plus taxes and fees) unlimited data plan. AT&T and Verizon followed with $100 and $85 per month (again, plus taxes and fees) unlimited plans. Whichever carrier you use, you’ll likely have the option of signing up for unlimited data.


Sometimes, unlimited data plans are not always worth it, so before locking yourself into an expensive contract, ask yourself these following questions:


1) How much data do I actually use?
The average smartphone user needs between 2 and 3 gigabytes of data each month. There’s no need to estimate; simply look through your old bills and calculate an average data use per month. That will take into account your habits and the habits of your family.


If you’re an average user, a 3-4 gigabyte plan is sufficient. These plans are usually 30 percent cheaper than unlimited plans. You only see savings with unlimited plans if you use more than 10 gigabytes per month.
For a family plan, take everyone’s data usage into account. The average family of four consumes 12 gigabytes each month. That might make the unlimited plan worthwhile.


2) Can I change my data usage?
If you regularly exceed your monthly data allotment, consider changing your habits before changing your plan. If you’re a regular Spotify user, download your playlist to your phone using Wi-Fi and listen data-free. Lower your video streaming quality, especially if you use an app for music. Set your phone to only download system and app updates when connected to Wi-Fi.


3) Can I rely on smartphone data exclusively?
You might use your smartphone extensively for business, or live in an area that doesn’t get high speed internet. In that case, there are other cord-cutting strategies to help reduce your total monthly expenses.
If you don’t use the internet much at home, but need data on the go, consider cutting your household internet and relying exclusively on mobile data. Wireless hot spot devices that broadcast a Wi-Fi signal and use your mobile data subscription are approximately $50.


Remember: no company is really unlimited. Expect to see slowdowns in service after you’ve used 20 gigabytes in a month. If there is a lot of internet use in your household, you’ll go through that cap quickly.
Whether an unlimited data plan is right for you depends on how much data you use, and whether that data use can be curtailed. If you need an unlimited data plan, make sure you get the most out of your service. Monthly fees add up quickly, so think before you upgrade!