Usage Amount For Prepaid Wireless Internet Access

by Julie
(Durham, NC)

How do you know how many MB's you are likely to use in a day, week, or month?

Comments for Usage Amount For Prepaid Wireless Internet Access

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Mar 28, 2011
Stick
by: Anonymous

My question was concerning AT&T's prepaid internet access stick which I use when I travel. You must prepay for a usage over a certain time period - day/week or month and I wasn't used to keeping track of that. It turned out I used less than I thought, mostly because the service was so slow or non-existent much of the time!

Mar 28, 2011
Straight Talk's got the cheapest unlimited
by: Angie

Straight Talk offers the cheapest unlimited everything plan on the market for $45,plus offers 2 reasonably priced smart phones, the Nokia E71 & Nokia 6790.
When I hear stories about the networks battling to supply unlimited data to people on AT&T networks I'm puzzled because Straight Talk doesn't have any problem supplying the unlimited data and they use the networks of Verizon and AT&T.

Mar 23, 2011
People want to understand how much data they use
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for your comment. While there are still some carriers/plans that offer unlimited data plans for handsets, a number of providers are starting to change to metered data plans. Many of the major postpaid carriers have changed, or announced that they are moving to metered pricing, and I expect that many of the prepaid carriers will follow suit. Particularly as prepaid wireless companies offer more and more capable smartphones, they'll need to start paying closer attention to their unlimited business cases, which may not enable them to offer unlimited plans.


For prepaid wireless broadband in particular, unlimited plans no longer exist in any real meaningful way, so people have been asking about how much data they need. These tools are here for those who need them, or are otherwise interested. For those of whom are using an unlimited plan, they won't find it necessary to use these data usage calculation tools. To each their own; it's here for those that are interested!

Mar 23, 2011
Why worry when
by: Soontobe

If unlimited data, talking, and texting is only $45 a month, why would you be muddling about keeping check of small data packages? Straight talk, tracfone's subsidiary have been punting unlimited for two years now, and in the light of all major carriers pulling their unlimited plans, ST still has it.

Mar 21, 2011
Estimating Wireless Internet Data Usage
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is a good question, and one that I've been asked (and seen asked elsewhere) more and more frequently. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that mobile wireless Internet is becoming more and more commonplace.


When wireless Internet was first available, it really wasn't all that fast, and more for convenience or emergencies. However, nowadays it has become so popular, that it can be considered mainstream. I know that I find myself using it even when a free (likely faster) WiFi connection is available. It's just so usable and convenient!


Anyway, to your question; how do you know how much wireless data you're going to use? Particularly now that virtually every unlimited plan has disappeared from the market, no one wants to pay crazy overage fees (for postpaid), or have to buy additional data buckets (for prepaid).


I've seen a lot of wireless companies offer suggestions as to how much data a given email, movie, etc. takes, though most recently I found a tool that Cricket published that I think is really excellent. It allows you to slide a scale for various services, including:

- Web
- Email
- Streaming music
- Streaming video
- File downloads/uploads
- Music downloads
- Online applications & gaming

I find it very easy to use, intuitive, and brings it down to a real world level. As you go, it will tally up the total estimated number of MBs. It will also suggest which Cricket broadband plan will meet your needs. Of course, just ignore this part if you're not using Cricket service. Noting their tool here is certainly NOT an endorsement that they offer the best service.


I've also included some links to other tools that I found. Some look as though they've been done by the same programmers! Even though they are provided by postpaid carriers, they're all basically the same. I'm sure there are other such calculators out there, so others who have found some good ones, definitely please do let us know! Note that using any of these calculators applies to data no matter what service you're using; even home cable broadband, so just ignore all of the carrier specific branding and notations.


Lastly, if anyone finds large differences between these (or other calculators), definitely please let us know! I find they vary slightly, but are generally all in the same ballpark.

DataJack Usage Calculator

AT&T Broadband Data Calculator

Verizon Broadband Data Calculator

T-Mobile Broadband Data Calculator

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