Tips for using less data while mobile

Question

You recently ran a poll (on your Facebook page) of users as to their Data usage on cell phones. What were the averages?

- Jim

Answer

This question was answered on August 19, 2011. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

The recent changes by many cellular data providers to eliminate unlimited data plans for new customers has created a lot of concern, so we decided to poll our Facebook users to get a sense of just how much data the average user used.

Since most of the carriers are going to a 2gb cap for their standard package, we wanted to see how many people would be impacted if they no longer had an unlimited plan.

While our poll was anything but scientific, we asked our Facebook community to post their current data usage with the billing cycle date or their previous month's usage so we could calculate some averages.

We had 95 responses, so we started by separating those that used more than 2gb (17) from those that used less than 2gb (78) This meant that 18% ued more than 2gb and 82% ued less (the 80/20 rule rears it's head once again!)

The average usage for those that went over 2gb was 5.4gb while the average for those under 2gb was just over 450mb (or only @23% o a 2gb cap).

What was even more interesting was that nearly � of the users (70) consumed less than 1gb, meaning that very few even came close to the 2gb cap (only 4 people used between 1.5 &2gb of data).

Most of the users that went over 2gb went way over, meaning that they likely used lots of streaming audio and video services during the month.

Another interesting number was that over 37% o those that were under would use less than 10% o the allocated bandwidth if they were on a 2gb plan.

Those users could actually save money if they switched from an unlimited plan to one of the entry level plans (usually 250gb of data) offered by some carriers.

Those that had high-bandwidth usage aren't necessarily consuming more or different kinds of content on the Internet than those with lower usage numbers Streaming video is one of the fastest growing types of content on the Internet and virtually every mobile device these days can stream video.

How and where you stream online video (and audio for that matter) will have a huge impact on your cellular data usage.

For most of us, the primary places we use our mobile devices are at home and at work In most cases, a wifi signal will be available to connect to, which saves you from using your cellular bandwidth.

If you pay attention to how you are connected before you start streaming video or audio, you can dramatically reduce your cellular data usage.

For those that travel, doing the same thing when you are on the road can be a big data saver as well Connecting to a hotel's or coffee shop's free wifi before starting any data intensive activity is a good habit to get into.

If you find yourself without any wifi options but want to watch streaming video, look for lower resolution options to save data YouTube videos can range from really basic to 1080HD, so avoid the super high resolution choices when you aren't on wifi.

Netflix users also have an option to stream movies in lower resolutions in order to cut down on bandwidth usage (the 'Manage Video Quality' setting can be found in the 'Your Account' section).

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Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on August 19, 2011