Internet has become a mainstream thing today. Everyone wants to stay connected. Everything has gone online – job, shopping, communication, entertainment and rest pretty much everything you can imagine. With increasing usage of internet, so has become the demand to stay connected. Though price per unit of data has been slashed to about a thousand times as it was at the turn of the decade, our usage has peaked, may be ten thousand times, and data costs are beginning to burn a hole in our pockets. Now how to cut short data bills? TechGipsy have brought in an excellent cheat sheet!
Plan before you get – calculate your usage
Data plans cost as per the data it carries. The fatter the number, the thicker sum in needs. But the question is do you really use that much data? Many of my friends just go for a high volume data pack, a number more than they use in a month. At the end of the month, they have gigabytes of data left to use. What the do – crazily download stuff and carp their drives. And this is sheer wastage.
Waste not, want not. Calculate how much data you need per month. For a regular user (like me) who uses internet for checking mails, some blogging and social interaction a gigabyte or two of data is usually enough. If you are a home user and use it for purposes like streaming music and YouTube videos, you shall probably require something about 5 GB, unless you opt for HD – which has a giant’s mouth. And for gamers, the range extends from less than a GB to even 50 GB, depending whether you play Counter-Strike or use Steam to get all the latest Tom Clancy series.
For a more accurate estimate, use data counter software on your computer to measure the data usage in a month, thus finding out an average. Most service providers have a data counter on their website that provides a yet good estimate.
Go for the speed you really need
Another criteria for data pricing is connection speed. The higher the speed, the more the cost. But for a regular user that checks mails and does office work, a 3Mbit connection or a 45Mbit LTE won’t have much difference, both being compensated by user lag. But for some gamer downloading 10 -20 mega titles a day, the thing would be a heaven and hell difference. For regular browsing needs focus on latency than speed.
If you mostly do causal browsing, send a few mails and occasionally download music and docs, a 2 or may be 3, Mbit connection is recommended. For streaming videos, at standard or HD you shall require a 3 Mbit and 8 Mbit connection respectively for smooth playback. In fact, YouTube HD videos, rarely go beyond a data rate of 2.5 Mbit, so you’re safe at 5 Mbit. However, if you’re a crazy downloader, you will need to loosen your pocket for a speed to complete your downloads without much waiting.
However, be warned that, higher data rates means you shall gobble up more data. You’ll then require to expand your data size too. And companies are ready to exploit this.
Use long validity plans
A solution I proposed to my friends to avoid data wastage every month to use a long validity pack, a fixed bracket of data for something around 3 months. This is beneficial for times, when you require more data than average and you don’t need to pay more for those few days. The extra data you use, shall be compensated with savings from previous usage periods. For instance, if it’s Diwali ahead, you plan to download some games to play during holidays. You get a 3 Month plan with 5 GB, use 4 in the first month, and stay connected with the remaining 1 GB for the next month.
Now, if you’re getting a new connection…
Go wired, if at home
If you’re planning for a home connection, it’s better to go for a wired one. You aren’t going to move your desktop very often. Are you? So, there is absolutely no point in investing in 3G, LTE or whatever. Wired connections are cheaper, have low latency and higher speeds than their wireless counterparts. Also, you can share a wired connection with all your devices at once using a router quite easily.
Choose hardware with features that you require
While getting a new connections, your service provider charges exorbitantly for simple features. A router with Wi-Fi costs about twice more than the one without (even if it is not so in the market). A dongle with voice call is certainly expensive than the one without. But if you’re you are always with your smartphone, there is no need to invest in these extra junk. Don’t get carried away by features, buy wisely.
Go prepaid or choose flexible plans
A Prepaid is the best way to put your wastage under control. You always have a margin in your mind and so do not cross it. Voila! Savings! Yes, prepaid plans are by default flexible in nature, you always pay for what you shall use. But if you hate the idea of paying in advance, so go for other flexible options like night-only plans, day-only plans, etc.
With a few modifications of browsing habits you can even save more. Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments below.