Watch your data useage on mobile

I don’t know about you, but in our household we use the internet a lot.

Sunday, 23rd August 2015, 8:24 am
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Browsing the world wide web, posting updates on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, downloading games, watching films and TV, listening to internet radio… It all adds up to many gigabytes of data downloaded every month and that is before we even start talking about work related activities.

Thank goodness for unlimited broadband! It has enabled us to do all these wonderful things without caring about artificially imposed limits.

I remember what it used to be like, watching the bandwidth and restricting yourself so that you didn’t use too much. At best it was inconvenient, at worst it could cost you lots of money as you paid for more bandwidth.

I am so glad those days are gone. Well, except for mobile broadband and mobile phone data packages. They are still subject to artificial limits. Which is odd and a real shame isn’t it?

If you are travelling, or just in an area with really poor broadband, a mobile alternative can be a real boon, especially if you have a good 4G signal in your area, because the speeds are amazing. So why are there limits anyway?

We mustn’t forget the primary purpose of a mobile signal is to make phone calls, so we are rooted in spending money every month for that. Data packages have always been and still are an add on, so the prices reflect that. Consider the humble broadband enabled landline. That used to be primarily for making phone calls, but with computers in all their guises being always on, a shift has occurred in favour of internet use being the primary purpose.

Competition has led to unlimited packages for regular old broadband and its big brother called fibre. That has freed us to do things like watch entire seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix, or for our kids to watch the latest Minecraft video on YouTube.

Will the same happen for mobile one day? Let’s hope so, because it will benefit the entire country. In the mean time, watch your data usage and shop around for the best deals. It is possible to have a limit of up to 25GBs for under £30 a month, while at the other end of the scale it can cost you that much for just 1 GB.