Thinking of Voluntarily Giving up my Unlimited Data
I currently have 2 smart phones and a dumb phone that are not on the share plans. I need to upgrade the dumb phone to a smart phone (good grades promise). My current plan is my smart phone has unlimited data, the other smart phone has 2GB monthly data. 2500 talk minutes between the three and unlimited texts, plus overseas calling plan. Current plan cost $205 monthly including taxes ($2460 yearly).
Here is the dilemma; For the past two years, my smart phone that has unlimited data has used under 1GB a month (yes only 1), the other smart phone uses between 1-2 GB monthly consistently. Total talk time averages 700 minutes monthly and thousands of texts.
Last month I used the upgrade that the dumb phone was due to upgrade my phone and keep unlimited texts. That leaves my phone and the other smart phone eligible for upgrades. The other smart phone does not intend to upgrade until next year when the future iphone 6 comes out. I could upgrade the dumb phone using the upgrade that is due the other smart phone and which would add $30 monthly to my bill making it $235 with taxes ($2820) which equates to an increase of $360 yearly.
Or I could switch to a family share plan where all the phones will share 6 GB data (able to up to 8GB on any month I may foresee a spike in data for $10), unlimited talk and unlimited texts, plus the overseas calling plan for $208 monthly ($2496 yearly) which is only an increase $36 for the year over current plan.
My decision is based upon, if it is worth it to maintain the unlimited on my phone for a cost increase of $330 yearly when I don't even use a GB of data monthly.
Keep in mind, I'm in my low low 50's , not a gamer, don't typically stream anything to the phone, as I'm usually in Wifi range. I play music on it during my hour long cardio daily workouts. Don't listen to music during the weights part of the work out.
My only concern would be you have no idea what the person getting good grades (your child I assume) is going to do with data. Images of those parents who got stuck with massive text bills comes to mind. If you keep unlimited and find your child is a data hog, you could swap phone numbers and give them unlimited, so you don't have to worry about it. Of course Verizon does give good notifications when you reach certain milestones, so you can monitor it fairly well, and take corrective action if/when required to avoid a massive bill as well. Also there is no guarantee your phone stays on unlimited anyways, Verizon could take it away at any time, so there's that to consider as well.
I struggled with the same issue, but when I looked at my history of data use, like you I used less than 1 gig/mo. We upped my wife's to smart from dumb, have good Wi-Fi access, so I swallowed and moved, we're on 2 gig/mo, don't download music or video and are happy so far.
I'm in my 40's and can easily use over 7GB a month, on wifi and mobile data combined. I don't play a lot of games, even though I have them. But I stream music at least 2 to 3 hrs a day. I have close to 300 apps, that 2 to 5 need updating every few days. I read a lot on the web thru Flipboard and do a few hours of web-surfing everyday. I have 3 email acct.'s to keep track and my Facebook.
I'm not on Verizon, but will tell you that if you are upgrading the dumb phone for a young person. Beware of high data usage and text messaging. (Unless you have some kind of Parental Controls to set limits.) Every time you stream music, watch a video, surf the web, sending/receiving pictures, playing games, on any social networking, checking email, etc. these all use data. Assuming the person your doing the upgrade for hasn't used a smart phone before on a regular bases, it will be easy for them to use a lot of data without keeping track of it and not knowing it. ($10 per 1GB of data overage can add up to a lot in the long run.)
Upgrade the dumb phone to a smartphone and pay the $30 data plan. (To use for yourself.) Give your unlimited data to the young person and see how they use it for a few months. After that, you can see if it's worth getting the family plan and how much data you would need.
A few days ago AT&T upgraded their app. I'm noticing its much more useful & accurate with new features that are handy to have. As a true power user that uses every bit of my data allotment, I'm using this app daily to help manage my consumption. It's great to have.
I upgraded my daughter's old out of contract flip phone for a Galaxy S4, then had Verizon re-activate the flip phone back to her number and pop the SIM from my old Galaxy Nexus card into the S4.
Ten year old daughter retains her old low tech emergency phone, but with a two year contract associated with her number. My wife and I retain my unlimited data plans. ...but I'm locked into her two years before I can upgrade without losing my unlimited plan now.
Yes. I noticed that the AT&T GS4 has a nice feature to monitor and control data use. Does VZW also have that in their phones? If so, you can always set data limits on the phone. You may not wish to give up your number just to keep the unlimited data plan.
AT&T also lets me manage the data connections per phone so that if it becomes necessary, I can disable/enable (at the time of my choosing) the data connection for any phone on the plan. I have used it too.
As would be expected, our teenagers are the data hogs in the family, easily outpacing mom and dad.
With 4 days left in our billing cycle (10 Gb plan), I'll let you guess who the users are.
I gave mine up early on because my main data usage was for music and it was cheaper to by a MicroSD card. I still pay for 2x what I need though, because I sometimes tether. Even paying for that it's cheaper than the unlimited plan was.
AntimoneyER. Thanks for the great advice. Fortunately for me, I have to remind my son to take his phone with him places, so I'm hoping (crossing fingers) that the data issue won't pop up. He does typically have youtube open on his iPad (wifi only). I'll make sure to remind him that wifi is for his streaming needs. I'm definitely doing a lot of debating on the pros and cons.
Itsallgood. Your advice sounds very good and I just make take the route you suggested for a couple of months just to "make sure".
Speedlever. Currently I can log into my Verizon account and see the data usage. I do know that you can set data alerts for all phones that are using data, and have this alert report to the account holder.
Goodspike. I'm with you in that I keep my music on MicroSD card and the other good thing is that my gym that I workout at has Wifi, so that should take care of any streaming problems if I really need to hear a radio station play the same thing over and over.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and for not immediately saying that "I must be crazy to give up unlimited". I'm in the camp, of why pay for things that you don't use and that is why I asked myself if it's worth keeping the unlimited. I am aware that Verizon would be super happy if everyone would give up unlimited. For those that use tons of data, I don't blame you for digging in with both heels and trying to maintain the unlimited for as long as possible.
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I am in the same age demographic as you. I have a 17 year old and a 15 year old. My youngest got a smart phone when we upgraded back in May. This was to be fair because the older one got their's two years before. Anyway, I have a 4 smartphone family share plan with a 4GB monthly allotment. My cycle ends at midnight today and we have used 2.9GB for the month. I was very clear to them that WiFi was their friend and to use it at any opportunity. The school where they go has open WiFi and we have WiFi at home. There are enough open WiFi hotspots around that you shouldn't have any problems managing your data. Verizon has an app called My Verizon that will allow you to monitor your usage and curtail it if need be. My oldest uses the most data in the family. That didn't used to be so, but when we upgraded they opted for an iPhone 5 instead of another Android phone. They do the same thing with the iPhone as they did with the Android, but IMHO apple consumes more data than Android. Anyway, good luck.
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