The 3G Existence

Recently, AT&T changed their smartphone data plans to a tiered, capped structure. There’s a plan for under 200MB usage in a month, and for up to 2GB usage, with additional steps for each extra 1GB of usage. I went to check my data usage, sure i was up close to the 2GB limit, and discovered that I was not even breaking the 200MB limit.

Here is the graph for the past few months:

I use wifi all the time. I am almost always in a wifi hotspot when I do any sort of lengthy data use on my iPhone. Since all current iPhone users are “grandfathered” into their current plans, I don’t have to switch. But if I never hit 200MB, I could be saving that extra money every month. But how much data do I actually use? If my wifi went down one month, how much would I use?

So, I decided to test it out, I turned off wifi on my phone.

I have discovered that I really miss the speed of wifi. I know that 3G is faster than edge (believe me, I know), but man 3G is not fast. not really, not compared to a good wifi connection. No wonder I developed a habit of using data on wifi. Who wouldn’t if it’s available.

Plus, iTunes won’t let you download larger applications over wifi, so some updates have to be done with the computer. Since I have been using an iPad, I don’t normally take my laptop home anymore. So I have to wait to get the apps or updates.

Speaking of the iPad. If it is available, and the 3G connection is slow, or even worse, I’m on Edge, I will confess to grabbing the wifi ipad to do a task rather than wait for 3G. So my experiment is tainted. it is also tainted because on occasion, I have needed data in a hurry, and switched to wifi on the phone. Only for a minute, only for a few MBs.

To be honest, I’m thinking about forgoing the experiment altogether. Now that iOS4 is here, with multitasking, I may end up skewing the whole thing by streaming music with Pandora on the road. I don’t know what will happen. or how my usage will change, which is why I am planning to keep my unlimited plan, for a while anyway.

There is a reason these phones are designed with wifi capability. It’s a better connection than 3G.

Maybe I’ll just do it for half a month? How much longer is that? Another week or so?

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One thought on “The 3G Existence

  1. Pingback: My Monthly 3G Usage on AT&T « Scott Link Blog

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