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5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption

Posted: , by John V.

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5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
Seriously, did you think that unlimited data was going to be around for much longer? As we’ve seen over the course of the last year, wireless carriers are seemingly becoming more stringent when it comes to data plans – especially now that more people are forging ahead with 4G enabled devices. Ultimately, we saw many carriers pulling the plug on unlimited data entirely, and instead, they’ve adopted the method of offering tiered data. Still, the price structures we’re seeing with these tiered data plans pale into comparison to the all-you-can-eat offering available with unlimited data plans of the past.

This week alone, we heard about AT&T going forward with its new data plans that will go into effect starting tomorrow, January 22nd. Specifically, their new smartphone data plans are consist of three specific options: $20/month for 300MB, $30/month for 3GB, and $50/month for 5GB. Now, if you were an AT&T customer a couple of years ago, then you know all too well that $30 per month would’ve blessed you with an unlimited data plan – so yeah, the times are surely changing!

5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
Besides AT&T, we also found out that Virgin Mobile is planning on saying goodbye to truly unlimited data too – well, they’re actually taking a different route with the new policy. Technically, customers will still be able to eat down as much data as they want, however, starting on March 23rd, they’ll throttle data speeds down to 256kbps for customers that exceed the 2.5GB mark within their billing cycle.

Conversely, we still happen to see some good when it comes to mobile data – case in point, T-Mobile’s Family Service plan. Previously, $45/month provided customers with unlimited talk and text for the first line in the account, but now they’re including unlimited data for the same price. Certainly, it’s a win for customers right? Not necessarily, that’s because they’ll be throttled after hitting the 250MB mark!

So what does this all mean? Obviously, we simply have to be more conscious about how we use our data on our evolving devices. Simply, every megabyte now counts at this point, especially when everyone seems to be adopting tiered plans or throttling data speeds. With that, here are five things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption.

Go on Wi-Fi

5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
You heard that right folks! Nowadays, pretty much every single smartphone out there offers Wi-Fi connectivity as an alternative source. Whether you’re at home or at a café of some sort, don’t hesitate to turn on the Wi-Fi on your smartphone because it can seriously aid in reducing your consumption. And on top of that, depending on the connection, you might be treated to speeds that are many times better than any 3G or 4G connection.

User a server assisted web browser

5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
Using the default web browser on your smartphone is a great thing considering most browsers are equipped in providing a near desktop-like experience. However, the compromise is made in the fact that they download the full context of every single item, which can lead to not only hefty downloads, but also long and drawn out load times too. Rather than using the stock browser, you ought to check out server assisted ones, like Opera or SkyFire, that minimize the amount of data being exchanged seeing they normally use server-side preprocessing to reduce consumption and load times.

Set a longer fetch time for emails

5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
When we first set up our devices, we sometimes forget about our finite data consumption and set our phones to fetch emails nearly all the time – even as much as every 5 minutes or more. Although there might not be a whole lot of data transmitted if there are no unread emails, it will eventually accumulate to something larger. So instead, don’t be scared to set it to fetch emails every few hours!

Don’t watch HQ YouTube videos

5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
We all love watching videos on our devices to kill some time, but if there’s one thing that kills off data more than anything else, it has to be watching YouTube videos. Depending on your settings, it might actually be set to play videos in high quality – especially if you happen to be connected via 4G. And when you consider that these HQ videos are shot in 720p or 1080p even, your data usage can go through the roof! Therefore, just double check on your settings so that they play in the lowest quality possible – trust us, it might not look pretty, but at least watch more videos.

Manually update applications

5 things you can do to reduce your mobile data consumption
Sometimes, whenever we get notifications to update preloaded software, we normally have a tendency to do it right away. Even more, the hassle about getting notifications might bring some people to set their device to automatically download them – albeit, the file size might prevent them from doing it. Well, if you can, we’d suggest holding off and waiting until you can connect to a Wi-Fi network to download them, or possibly using your computer to get them. Taking into account that certain software updates can be substantial in size, even as much as 1GB, you know that you’ll benefit by manually downloading them later on.

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posted on 21 Jan 2012, 12:36 1

1. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6353; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Ill just use wifi. And I turn off my data when I dont need too use it. I only use data too upload my pics or maps or search for something. AT&T only raise the prices cause they lost their billions in cash. NO ONE cant afford 30$-3gb/50-5gb data plans. Are you serious bro

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 13:19 1

7. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


I wouldn't jump to conclusions. I regularly go over my 2gb and end up paying $35 for 3gb. Saving $5, although not as ideal as unlimited, is a welcome thing. And 5/$50 when tethering is included in the $50 might actually be a good idea for those. With laptops. Well good idea compared to the old plan that is.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 14:56

12. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Seriously? You are getting more data for your money and a better than Verizon, unless you got the double the data the deal, like I did...stop yer whining :-)

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 15:25 1

16. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


I think you misunderstand Me. I wasn't whining at all. I was telling inspectorgadget thaT the new data plans are in fact affordable. I don't see how that's Whiny.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 16:37

17. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


How are they more affordable if they raise the minimum prices? For people to enjoy the lowest cost per GB, people have to consume the entire plan each month without going over. And if you are like most people who don't consume the entire data package each month, then the cost per GB increases.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 18:35

22. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


For those that don't use all their data, its not the best news. So they should keep their current plan. Att isn't forcing people to upgrade. For people that constantly go over 2gb, like myself, its $5 cheaper than the overage. Basically, if the new plans aren't affordable for you don't switch. If you switch then they must be affordable and a better option or you have just made a stupid decision. Of course there are those thar wont like either plan but they don't have to switch. Also price per megabytes is not an issue to most consumers. Most don't even know exactly what a Mb is or even how much data it is. And price per Mb loses its relevance when no one pays per Mb. At least to average consumers. So if you don't like the new plan don't switch. If you like it switch. If its not affordable then your salary isn't high enough. No shame in it but that's just the brakes.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 21:19

26. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


> Att isn't forcing people to upgrade

And the point clevername continues to dodge is that the rate plan applies to new customers.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 23:32 1

30. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Lol I'm not dodging that point, I wasn't even speaking on it. As for new customers...if you don't like it, go somewhere else. Simple as that. If you sign up for it, at that price, its affordable. If you cant afford it, you were foolish to sign a contract you cannot afford. So again it brings me to what I was saying before, and this applies not just to all carriers, but any service. It is ultimately the consumers choice to purchase a product or service. If something is not a necessity to life (such as a data plan, luxury vehicle, first class plane trip, etc.) Don't get it if you cannot afford it. Hence if you get it you must think its affordable... or you're a fool.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 21:42 6

28. 305Bucko (Posts: 506; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)


I have a better solution... ditch ur carrier and move to Sprint. $80 unlimited everything. Sucks to be u guys

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 09:22 1

38. jamrockjones (Posts: 345; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


No kidding. 5 Ways to lower your data consumption, well I don't have to do that cause I have UNLIMITED!

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 12:43 1

2. android1234 (Posts: 106; Member since: 09 Feb 2010)


I'm going to be holding onto my unlimited data from Verizon forever. THE TIERED PLANS SUCK.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 12:49 2

4. protozeloz (Posts: 5373; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


You must know they will eventually get you

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 06:27

32. sumdude (Posts: 50; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


Unlimited does not mean infinitely, so enjoy it while it's available b/c nothing says it'll be there for the long haul. If memory serves me correctly, there were internal reports in the early part of Q4 of last year. That Big Red was seriously considering axing unlimited data plans, as early as March of this year.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 12:48 1

3. protozeloz (Posts: 5373; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Another for android users is to pre cache maps over wifi to reduce consuption. And keep a widget on either the home screens or the notification bar so you can check how much you have used

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 14:56

13. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I have the Verizon widget...really useful.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 12:55

5. android1234 (Posts: 106; Member since: 09 Feb 2010)


If they opt to release a family data plan at the reasonable rate and usage allowance, that might be worth it to change. I have used about 25gb this month, usually watch Netflix and YouTube and stream Pandora at work.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 13:15

6. DigitalMD (Posts: 226; Member since: 17 Feb 2010)


How about the cell carriers strip all the spam ads and marketing stuff out so we don't have to pay them for garbage.
And then how about they take some of the cash they use for marketing high-speed data consumption to us and give us a break on how much we consume. "Rule the airways" my A@@...

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 14:57

14. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I block out the spam with either a program or an updated hosts file....

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 13:41

8. AngusNG12345 (Posts: 37; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


1 thing you can do to reduce data consumption: use less data

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 16:42 1

18. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


I have Verizon 4G and I save that capacity for downloading large files and watching HQ videos. For basic surfing, I use my unlimited 3G from Virgin Mobile. Plus I know all the places that have wifi when it's not busy like McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 18:06

19. mukrenol (Posts: 90; Member since: 03 Sep 2011)


that's exactly what i have been doing already...i even turn off auto sync with accounts until i know i have wifi or... just refresh my email once in a while with data due to work

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 18:19

20. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


found a typo (i think) "preprocessing to reduce consumption and increase load times." *decrease*? PhoneArena, edit your work.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 18:34 1

21. Jyakotu (Posts: 819; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


WiFi is the way to go. Honestly, WiFi speeds are WAY faster than 3G/4G data speeds, IMO. Might I offer a suggestion to carriers.? Why don't they do data plans like ISP plans. If you want faster speeds, then pay more. But if you don't require faster speeds, then play less. For example, they could offer a 2G plan, a 2G/3G plan, and a 2G/3G/4G plan. Depending on the phone, most will do fine with just 3G connection with 2G speeds to fall back on.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 18:37 1

23. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


That's not a bad idea. Then maybe data alottments can be raised since its only a small percentage that uses the most data I would assume that roughly the same percentage of people would want the faster speeds.

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 06:50

37. aar0983 (Posts: 51; Member since: 26 Sep 2011)


This is a really bad idea. Why should I pay more for a faster connection when I already pay enough. If people wouldnt change their carriers all the time most people would have unlimited data grandfather to their plan like some of us do. I have an LTE phone for a reason. Forget switching to wifi back and forward or using 3g speeds when you can use Lte. If lte is not in your area then sucks to be you

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 09:25

39. clevername (Posts: 1428; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


For this idea to be feasable the fastest most expensive plan would have to be the current rate and then plans would get slower and cheaper from there.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 18:41

24. protozeloz (Posts: 5373; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I think philippines does that and people pay more for faster speeds. Could be a great idea

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 21:26

27. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


> WiFi is the way to go. Honestly, WiFi speeds are WAY faster than 3G/4G data speeds

The correct way to look at WIFI speeds is based on the number of people using it or the network. It's not a problems if people were surfing the internet, but once these users start downloading videos, forget about free WIFI. The degradation on WIFI is well known.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 21:11

25. RandomlyPsychotic (Posts: 36; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


I pay $10 for unlimited internet on AT&T, full HSPA+.
I usually get 6.46mb up and 1.90mb down.
I have a Galaxy Nexus but since it's not an AT&T smartphone, it qualifies for unlimited media net data. I've been doing this for years with smartphones. So I have nothing to worry about :)

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 22:55

35. Hlorri (Posts: 39; Member since: 07 May 2008)


That's $10 only in conjunction with an unlimited message plan ($20), right? Still, if you were to reduce or eliminate your message plan, you'd pay $15/month for unlimited data.

posted on 21 Jan 2012, 22:49

29. rockstarlive (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Another way is......turn your phone off. Thats pretty much the for sure way. LOL.

I usually avg around 6-8 Gb a month.

As for the Youtube vids, I still go HQ, but then there are so many phones coming out with 720p HD res, its really tempting to watch something.

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 00:18 1

31. skymitch89 (Posts: 1053; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


I don't really see any problem with the $50 for 5GB, that's what Verizon charges, yet with the $50 At&t plan you get the tethering option as well, so in the long run you actually save some money with At&t's $50 plan. I'll stick with my Everything Data Plan through Sprint. Yes, the speeds suck but at least I have unlimited data.

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 14:51 1

33. Gdrye (Posts: 102; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


I know places like Starbucks, McDonalds, and Panara Bread offer free wifi, but do you guys see between those lines, that in order to be cell phone users we have to start hanging out in those places to use our phones the way they were intended to? I dont know but that just seems funny to me. And with LTE, i thought that was supposed to handle so much more data than the usual 3G networks? when you have LTE and 3G, and or Edge, why not do something with that? thats two or 3 different networks, not one network doing all the data work. so its not like one network is handling ALL the data, i dont know, i feel that there are more solutions than to do what you can to hope customers go into "overage" territory in my honest opinion.

P.S. I REALLY hate the "use less data" crowd, why dont you just shut up and carry your flip phones, they still have unlimited data for a really cheap rate. As time and tech evolves so should the carriers, this isn't user error, its the inability of the carriers to meet customer demand!

posted on 23 Jan 2012, 21:35

40. BattleBrat (Posts: 1068; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


Yes, Verizon offered "unlimited" data, and data I used, my last major month was two months ago 38gbs of data used, only 1.5gb the last two months though, just got internet at home...

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 22:53

34. Hlorri (Posts: 39; Member since: 07 May 2008)


I still have a $15/month unlimited data plan from AT&T, since the last phone I got from them was a "feature phone" (Sony Ericsson C905a). I have long since swapped this for an unlocked smartphone (Nokia N8) from Amazon, but still enjoy this rate. :)

Unlocked phones may cost more upfront, but as this shows, really pay off in the long run. :)

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 22:58

36. rockstarlive (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Yeah sued to have an unlocked Galaxy. But not much offerings for GSM unlocked pentabad phones lately.

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