Post

12 followers Follow
4
Avatar

What can you do with 100 MB of data?

The lowest data tier is 100 MB.  I've never used the 3G data on my smartphone before (just been using WiFi) so I'm curious of what I could do with 100 MB.  Has anyone tried to consistently use under 100 MB per month?  What kind of tasks can you do in the month?  I'm thinking I could probably get away with checking my email every day (including downloading the occasional picture), browsing the occasional website and checking Facebook on occasion.  I would still have to wait until I am home to download apps, update them, view videos, and other data intensive things.  Do you think that is doable or do you think even doing that would blow through the first 100 MB?

Aaron Koop

Please sign in to leave a comment.

33 comments

0
Avatar

I would just set up an Alert in your Dashboard to email you / text you and also disable data when you got close to 100 MB. You could also have other alerts to warn you at 50 MB and 75 MB. Just use the phone normally and see how it adds up over a month. You should be able to use email without considering whether you are connected to WIFI or not.     

Zarthan South 0 votes
0
Avatar

I consistently use less than 100 MB of data. Usually around 60-80 MB. Last month I was at 99 MB and cut my data off because I don't REALLY need it. I am on wifi at home and at the office. Past that, I'm on wifi at certain friends places, otherwise I am on 3G. I don't really monitor my data because it never gets close. But I have mine to alert me at 90 MB and then I am more conscientious on where I am using actual data over wifi. As Zarthan stated, you can just have it shut off at 100 MB.

But as it is, I can check my email, send texts (I send texts over data with GV), check Facebook, and look at one or two webpages without going over.

Laura Mosher 0 votes
0
Avatar

I installed a widget to toggle the data on/off, keep the data turned off except when needed and set all my apps to update over wifi only.  A data manager app gives me interesting insight as to how the data is used - google maps is usually the biggest culprit.  I find that I can spend 20-30 lite surf time (email, FB, personal apps) and only use 2-4 mb of data.  I don't surf the web on data and I don't feel constricted by my lack of ability to check photos or watch videos. I'm noticing that using apps for targeted searches, like urbanspoon or yelp for restaurants, uses less data than searching in a browser.  In two months I'm averaging 60 mb/month.  $3.  My friends are amazed, since I have all the capabilities of a much pricier plan.  FTW!

Lisa Casey 0 votes
0
Avatar

Thanks for all the responses and ideas!  It's good to know that the 100 MB plan isn't just a catch-all for anyone who accidentally uses data and can actually be useful in many practical ways.

Aaron Koop 0 votes
0
Avatar

Hi guys,

I have a few estimates on data usage that you can use for comparison:

100 text emails = 1 MB

3 emails with attachments = 1 MB

1 hour of web browsing (depending on pictures, .gifs, videos, etc) = 10-30 MB

Downloading one 3-minute mp3 = 4 MB

Viewing/downloading one 10-minute video = 40 MB

Hope these estimates can help you out somewhat! And remember to enable WiFi connectivity on your device when you're in a hotspot to avoid incurring data charges you don't need to :)

Katie Lai 0 votes
0
Avatar

I'd like to note I'm consistently under 100MiB - I use wifi at home and work.

I use 3G for Google Maps, pretty much, or to look something up on Wikipedia or just to browse ycombinator when bored.

So, my data usage is pretty much exclusively traffic info and routing.  I use the cached maps feature in Google Maps (p.s. - don't update, they made it a lot more painful to use in the latest version) so I don't use data for that either.

My SO is almost always on wifi, but did burn through about 70 megabytes or so on one vacation trip, checking e-mail, facebook and downloading a podcast.

But still ended up below 100 at the end of the month.

Derek Pomery 0 votes
0
Avatar

Nathan-

 

I use My Data Manager to track usage in different apps - looking at photos on facebook seems to be a big culprit!  And I use Data Enabler widget on my home screen to toggle data on and off.  So far so good, I haven't crossed the 100 MB yet in 9 months nor do I feel especially lacking in usage. I did put a cap on my data use through Ting as an extra precaution, but I never stream videos or pandora, so I don't thing the above caution will apply to me.

 

One other thing I've just realized as a perk for Android users is that the built in GPS can direct the navigation apps directly.  Sometimes it seems that I'll need to enable data to locate an address, but then I can turn it off and continue to use navigation using only GPS - very cool and makes my iphone friends a little jealous...  Waze is my navigation app of choice currently.

Lisa Casey 0 votes
0
Avatar

My question is, how are you guys using over 100 megs of data? My wife and I never have data speeds that are worth using. From Chicago to South Bend IN, to our home in Grand Rapids MI to as far east as Lansing MI. We never, ever, ever have data speeds worth bothering with.

 

I did a speed check this week using Speakeasy, and I pulled a whopping 0.13 Mbps down and 0.06 Mbps up. The test took about five minutes just to load the web UI

 

The few times we used  500 megs or more? I think my wife had a bad app that was wasting data 24/7 for days and days.

Garrick Greathouse 0 votes
0
Avatar

Hey Garrick.  I've had the exact same experience on AT&T, although:

http://www.techhive.com/article/255068/3g_4g_performance_map_speeds_from_everywhere_we_tested.html

Suggests that perf in our area is highly variable.  At least on AT&T it was prob due to network load - that is, if I switched to Edge instead of 3G, I'd oddly get faster speeds, since I guess everyone else was on 3G.  In general, 3G was just if there was no WiFi around, as a last resort.

But, yeah, their map suggests Sprint lacks a bit in this regard even compared to the already subpar carrier experience :-/

That being said, my experience on Sprint hasn't been *quite* that bad, esp the upstream, and 133Kbps (your quoted rate) is low-end residential DSL, which was once considered broadband ☺   In this area, those few times I haven't been careful I've shot up to 100MiB in a single day, just by grabbing a Youtube video.  Take the 37 second pandas-drinking-milk @ 360p I just grabbed to check size.  Was 3.6MiB.  At your quoted speed it would download in 28 seconds, which means you would in fact be able to stream it without buffering, which, with just a quarter of an hour of panda video watching, would exhaust your entire 100 megabyte quota.

WRT Katie's list of data usage, I'd like to note that text e-mail and web browsing data usage depends on compression.

Hopefully the email provider has the COMPRESS extension for IMAP (like gmail does), and websites are using SPDY or HTTP compression.

Grabbing a quick 100 e-mails from my maildir, seems that they are 1.4MiB pre-compression.  Compressed individually, 534KiB.  Compressed as a group, 271KiB - server would prob be somewhere between those two (repetitive headers as the spec mentions and such), so, text or html e-mails are prob more like 300 for a megabyte.   Eh, Well, Katie may have some inside stats from Ting that we users don't have access too, but hopefully it works out like that!

 

 

Derek Pomery 0 votes
0
Avatar

I see those numbers you quote, but was never able to stream youtube, pandora, or netflix on Ting before I downgraded to a flip phone. It was unusable, and on my wife's phone it's still unusable. 

It took me five minutes alone to load the Speakeasy speedtest webpage. There's no way Youtube would work, but I'll do a test tonight and see.

Garrick Greathouse 0 votes
0
Avatar

Hrm.  Make sure you're not streaming HD video.  There's a gigantic difference between 360p and 1080p - even if your phone is capable of the later you prob don't want to do it when not on broadband - at least in your area looks like (and totally setting aside the issue of bandwidth wasted) - I mean, unless you reallly want to see that particular video in gorgeous detail.

Grabbed another Youtube vid (gangnam) to compare 1080 and 360.  1080 was 178MiB.  360 was 25MiB. 

Video is 4:12 seconds long.  That would mean you could again stream at 360p, but 1080 would be constant stuttering, since you'd need 23 minutes just to download it.

Derek Pomery 0 votes
0
Avatar

I tried watching the very first youtube video ever uploaded. 20 seconds, 240p, .8 megs according to keepvid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNQXAC9IVRw

After downloading the meta data (for lack of a better word) I received several network errors before it began buffering, it took me me 8 minutes before it even started buffering. Once buffering, it took another two minutes to stream the movie with constant buffer interruptions. 

So, ten minutes to download .8 megs equals 0.0013333333333333 megs a second in a real world use case, right?

I then did another speakeasy speedtest. That took another two errors and five minutes to load. I got a 0.04Mbs download.

Garrick Greathouse 0 votes
0
Avatar

@ Garrick - ick, that does suck. Time of day? Everyone piled on 3G locally? Reminds me of Friday nights downtown.

@ Chris, I gotta say, Sprint's 3G seems no worse than AT&T's to me - note my annecdote about the possibly-less-crowded Edge working better.

So. According to coverage map I'm juuust on edge of 4G, not that this phone is capable of it, which is kinda sparse in our town. I ran Garrick's SpeakEasy test, and not for the closest city - picked New York.
I got 2.17Mbps down, 0.58Mbps up, for 3G.

I'll try Chris' "nowhere near 4G" theory when shopping later this afternoon. According to the coverage map I should be well out of range then. But, here at least, on a Saturday afternoon, the 3G seems juuust fine. Apart from getting close to that 100MiB limit I'm staying under. You guys are lucky I have some to spare at end of month to run speed tests. :-p

Derek Pomery 0 votes
0
Avatar

I joined Ting to try and save money. I understood they used sprint, but I thought "How different could their service be."

Turns our Verizon isn't that expensive compared to service that simply doesn't work. It's been weeks now, and my phone still doesn't ring half the time when I receive calls and drops way too many calls. My wife called me today at it never rang.

It also seems the only way I can get a response from Customer Service any more is to call them out in public forum threads. At this point however I think they've done everything they can. My service is still unreliable.

Garrick Greathouse 0 votes
0
Avatar

@Garrick What you are saying is not relevant. Every time I have contacted Ting, they always answer and are very courteous. 

 

As for the topic. This is my second month with Ting and I have 4 phones on the plan. Three are smartphones and can use a considerable amount of data. A previous poster said that, 'Facebook accounts for a lot of data usage,' and they are right. As long as you are aware of what you are looking at on Facebook then you really can keep your data usage down. I am on my home WiFi network and work WiFi about 90 percent of the time, so that keeps data low. This month with 9 days left I have used 90MB, line 2=101MB, line 3=832MB (she, unfortunately was not connected to her home WiFi and was surfing the net, using Facebook, and streaming videos. So she was able to rack up a ton of data charges.) But I am confident that next month I will be able to keep the data usage under 500MB. 

Armando Sierra 0 votes
0
Avatar

I just wanted to add that one of the reasons I switched to Ting is the 100mb data option being only $3 and being available if/whenever I need it.

I have wifi at home, work and most of the places I go so to date the only data I've used has been for activating my devices ... which by the way Ting does not charge for.

 

So as far as this threads topic goes I think Katie Lai answered the question pretty clearly. However, if people are interested in minimizing their paid data use I recommend finding and tagging all of the free local hotspots that you frequent or just go past regularly. There are a lot more than people realize.

I used a free hotspot scanner app for a couple weeks to figure out the best signal locations and now  I use the app Automateit Pro {$2} that uses GPS positioning to turn wifi and sync on when I get close to a good signal. 

 

It depends on where you are and what you do but that 100mb of data can be much more than you actually need. I just really really like knowing that it's there if I need it and I don't have to pay for it until I do. 

 

Ting rocks!

 

 

siguie shortstrider 0 votes
0
Avatar

My usage is similar to Lisa's above and I usually end up well under the 100MB limit.

I keep my data turned off most of the time.  I am configured for Wi-Fi at home, at work, at the gym, and at several restaurants that I normally go to.  I also have Xfinity Wifi, which is showing up in more places recently.  I also have a Widget on my home screen to turn data on and off.  I do not bother to configure apps to update only on Wifi, since data as almost always turned off.

If I am out and there is no Wi-Fi, and I need something like checking mail, GPS Navigation, news fix updating the New York Times, checking MLB baseball scores, then I turn on data for a little while.  I also sometimes tether to my laptop, especially to transfer files when I am at a client's site.  After these sessions, I go to the Ting App and check my usage.  My sessions to do these things rarely exceed 2-3 megabytes.  So, I can do one session like this per day and still be OK.  In practice, I probably only need to turn on data 1-2 days per week, so I usually end up with less than 50MB used.

A side benefit is that I have excellent battery life.  I basically go a full day without running down my charge more than 25%.

I realize this will not work for everyone, but it is what attracted me to Ting - I have connectivity when I really need it, including hotspot tethering for my laptop, but I am only paying $3. per month for the data.  Most other carriers require a large plan before they will even give you tethering, and then they add a hefty charge on top of that for the tethering.

Just FYI, I also use more texting now that I have Ting, but I am always under 100/month.  My voice usage is less than 500 minutes/month, so my whole bill (one-line only) is typically $21 plus taxes, etc.  I think it is an impressive value!

Eli Abbe 0 votes
0
Avatar

Is there an easy way to turn 3G data on and off besides having to go into the phone settings?  There doesn't seem to be a built-in widget (at least not in Android 3.2) that does that.

Aaron Koop 0 votes
0
Avatar

Aaron,

On some phones, there i an option on the power-off menu that toggles 3G data.. On my Samsung Epic 4G, it is called "Data network mode".

Bruce Osborne 0 votes
0
Avatar

@Eli - I don't bother turning off data when not on wifi. I *do* make sure that google maps has the max possible cache (in our area, that's wide enough to cover most of the state and all the major cities in a single cache). I also turn off background data - this irritates the google play store which insists on it for some silly reason, but I just briefly turn it on when I'm using the store, then off again after.

That way, if decide to check my messages on Google Phone or send someone a quick IM, I don't have to turn data on and off, but I know that once I close the app I won't keep burning data. And, yeah, my battery life is excellent.

Turning off Wifi scanning helps w/ battery too it seems. If I'm in an area where there are no open networks, I'll just turn off wifi for a bit to get it to stop trying.

Derek Pomery 0 votes
0
Avatar

Derek,

While I generally agree with you, in the past when signals have been marginal, I have needed to torn off 3G data to stop the phone from trying 3G and consuming the battery.

Bruce Osborne 0 votes
0
Avatar

@Aaron - I downloaded a widget called Data ON-OFF, and it works well.  There are many others in the Play Store, as I recall.

@Derek - thanks for the tip about Google Maps caching.  I assumed that navigation would always need to have data turned on.  I will check it out. 

Eli Abbe 0 votes