Earlier this year there was a popular story on tech news sites regarding a man in California that sued AT&T over his throttling of data usage. Yes, I live in California. No, I was not that man. This man was under contract with AT&T with an unlimited data plan, which I also have and have been grandfathered into since purchasing the iPhone 3G. According to the articles, the data throttling occurred somewhere between 1.5 – 2 GB data usage each month. This $30 unlimited plan is the same price new customers can sign up for and receive 3 GB of data. There’s an obvious disconnect when the same price for an “unlimited” plan gets a customer less data than a “limited” plan. Depending on what you read and where, this man was using upwards of 10 GB per month.
Anyway, it got me to thinking what he was doing each month that required so much data and how much data I could reasonable use by pushing the envelope a little bit. The results are puny in comparison. Let’s level set the criteria I used. First, my goal was NOT to do everything in my power to get to 10 GB of data usage. I wanted to get as close as possible to 3 GB though. The test occurred during the months of March and April. During the month of March I left WiFi enabled, but increased my usage of streaming music sites like Pandora and TuneIn Radio, even watched a few YouTube videos. During the Month of April I disabled WiFi, only using it on a couple of occasions when there was a large number of app updates, usually in the 8 – 10 range. If there were less than that I didn’t turn on WiFi.
During March I sent/received 1.04 GB (picture below on right). During April I sent/received approximately 2.08 (picture below on left), double the amount sent/received during March. This is still 1 GB under the fictionary limit set by AT&T for unlimited plans… and yet this man that sued AT&T was using an additional 4 times that amount. I have to venture a guess that this man never connects to a WiFi hotspot, streams music constantly, or watches a lot of videos on the iPhone. Either way, my 2 month test is now over. There are no plans to attempt to go any higher than the 2 GB used last month. When it comes down to it, I like the security of having the unlimited plan in the event I have a bad month or, worse, a hiccup with the phone causes my data usage to skyrocket withouth my knowledge. I also plan to go back to using WiFi. Just because I have access to the AT&T network doesn’t mean I have to use it when a better connection is available, which my home network definitely is.
There you have it. Enjoy.