Smartphones and tablets make it easier than ever to connect to the Internet while on the go; but browsing the web, playing games, and streaming music and videos can easily push users over their monthly data allowances, resulting in additional—and often significant—fees. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington urges mobile surfers to understand contract terms and proactively monitor data usage.
According to Cisco Systems Inc.’s VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update:
- The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population in 2012.
- 100 million smartphone users will join the "gigabyte club" and use more than one gigabyte of mobile data per month by 2012.
- Monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass one billion gigabytes by 2016.
In fact, mobile data usage has become so ubiquitous that some carriers are now considering data-only plans for smartphones and other products with wireless connectivity.
Better Business Bureau calls on consumers to take steps toward preventing “bill shock”:
Crunch the numbers. Many cellular service providers offer tools to monitor data consumption; view a list of resources in BBB’s article:Use Your Cell Phone Carrier’s Data Limit Protection to Your Advantage.
Dial in on usage. Utilize available tools to understand data usage and plans; adjust mobile habits accordingly.
Choose Wi-Fi. Wireless Internet hotspots are virtually everywhere. When downloading games, movies and music, connect to secure Wi-Fi; this will substantially reduce mobile data usage.
Hang up on standard websites. Mobile-optimized websites and apps look better on handheld devices and use less bandwidth.
Location, location, location. When traveling out of the country, turn data services off to avoid international roaming charges.
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