How To Estimate Your Data Usage

First it was voice minutes, then it was the number of texts we sent, and now it’s all about data. When it comes to managing our cellular phone plans, it seems there has been an ever-changing succession of variables for us to worry about.

But of all the factors that contribute to potential overages on that monthly statement, data may be the hardest to understand. After all, how much data does daily e-mail use consume? What about uploading photos? Listening to music? Streaming movies? With today’s sophisticated mobile devices, there appears to be no limit to what we can do…and no limit to the amount of data we can consume.

Fortunately, wireless carriers are acutely aware of the plight of the average consumer and have tried to simplify the process of estimating how much data we are likely to need. Here are a few tools that are designed to make our lives easier:

Share Everything

A problem shared is a problem halved. When Verizon revolutionized the wireless world in June of last year by introducing Share Everything plans, they recognized that different people use their mobile devices for different things. While Mom and Dad might be checking e-mail or watching their favorite shows on Hulu Plus and HBO Go, the kids are more likely to be uploading photos, listening to iHeartRadio, and playing video games. Trying to estimate all that individual data usage could be a problem, but pool all that activity together and it becomes a lot more manageable.

But the real beauty of Share Everything plans is their flexibility. If you see that the family’s data allowance isn’t going to cover you for the current month, then just go online or visit you’re your Verizon store and change your plan. Share Everything plans can be adjusted up or down to precisely suit your family’s needs, so you’re never paying too much and you’re never letting a data allowance go to waste.

Data Calculator

Being able to adjust your plan on-the-fly is great but that still doesn’t give you a starting point. And it still doesn’t tell you which activities are the most data-hungry. It’s time to turn to the Data Calculator.

The Data Calculator is a clever online tool that allows you to simulate the activity of each device covered by your plan and estimate the resulting monthly data usage. It also gives you a great understanding of which activities are likely to make a difference. For example, unless you are constantly downloading large files and attachments, checking e-mail is not going to have much of an impact on your monthly bill. But if you are using the NFL Mobile app on your way home from work every day, then you will definitely need to factor that in.

Data Usage Alerts

OK, so you’ve estimated your data usage and set up your Share Everything plan, but how do you know how much data you’ve used at any given point in the month? That’s where Usage Alerts come in. Verizon and other wireless carriers will send you alerts via a free text message and/or e-mail when you reach 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of your monthly data allowance. You can set the frequency of alerts or add additional alert recipients online through your wireless account.

With Share Everything, a Data Calculator, and Usage Alerts, you should never be caught out by unexpected data charges again. That’s one less thing to worry about!

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