18 November 2016

What Your Wireless Carrier May Not Be Telling You, U.S. Mobile Data Usage

What your wireless carrier may not be telling you?
  1. When it comes to phones, you have a choice: see the list of All Phone Manufacturers | PhoneArena.com. It's not just Apple or Samsung. Order an unlocked phone online (preferably GSM which works on AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.) and save money ($$$). Your wireless carrier will provide you with a SIM card. For example, just search for best unlocked smartphones on Amazon.com, and look at your options. Among our current favorites: BLU Life One X2 (64GB+4GB RAM) $199.99 at Amazon which uses Qualcomm.com components and Corning.com gorilla glass.
  2. Wireless carrier plans or terms are, for the most part, confusing and change regularly. We suggest first using opensignal.com to determine which carriers provide adequate coverage for your needs, and then determine how much voice, text, and data you actually need from your wireless carrier--don't pay for more than you need (e.g., where a wi-fi network instead suffices in meeting connectivity needs). Also consider using Google Voice or Hangouts, or other voice app, for wi-fi calling. Of all the carriers in the U.S., here's what we like best in the budget-friendly category: T-Mobile.com, including their $30 a month and $3 a month plans (get these online at t-mobile.com). Also consider (particularly for a secondary phone, second SIM or international travel phone), global MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) LycaMobile.com based on this recommendation for its voice & text Pay As You Go $0.05 a minute voice, $0.05 per SMS in the U.S. (rates vary for other countries). In the U.S., LycaMobile uses the T-Mobile network. According to the recommendation source above, you simply load up $10 onto your LycaMobile SIM and "make calls as needed and they (LycaMobile) will charge you on a per minute and per text basis. Your balance should never expire as long as you have some sort of [$0.05 minute voice or $0.05 text] activity every 90 days," and when your balance gets down to $1.00, simply load another $10 on the SIM.
  3. Does Your Wireless Carrier 4G LTE Data Cap Limit Include OR Exclude Video Streaming?
T-Mobile.com has expanded its customer base by "zero-rating" (free of cap limit) video streams via popular apps like Netflix and Spotify, see complete list here. Those video streams do not count against a user's data cap. As a result, the infographic below shows T-Mobile's customers are consuming far more mobile data than competitors' customers in the U.S.

Chart below shows average data used per day and usage time per person on U.S. cellular networks in 2016, according to Statista:
Infographic: App Data Usage Varies Hugely By Provider  | Statista
Binge On | Video Streaming without Using Your 4G LTE Data | T-Mobile.com: "... you can stream all you want for FREE without using your data. With Binge On, Simple Choice users on a qualifying plan are FREE to stream unlimited video on your favorite services like YouTube, Netflix, HBO NOW, and many more without using a drop of your high-speed data. Nothing to configure – all automatically applied to your qualifying plan ..." [go to link above for more, including terms of the offer].
T-Mobile shares | NASDAQ: TMUS up over 40% the past year, as of Thursday close 17 Nov 2016:

 NASDAQ: TMUS


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