From the time that smartphones and tablets started to become more and more popular, data prices have been on the rise ... sort of. Providers have begun building out expensive wireless networks that are better optimized for data services than their 3G counterparts; thus, to offset any loses caused by the rapid build-out, they have shied away from truly unlimited data for much more profitable, tiered data plans.

And, unlike their unlimited predecessors, tiered data plans have been perceived as expensive and unforgiving – mainly because they are by comparison.

As you would imagine with an unlimited data plan, usage was not restricted. You could use your phone, nonstop, from morning until night every single day of the month without ever receiving a notification telling you to give it a rest. There were never any overages, your usage was not purposefully hindered or throttled in any way. All was well in the world.

After five or six years of getting used to this, carriers abruptly sat their foot down and reacted to smartphone adoption and heavy data usage as if it happened overnight – or as if nobody saw it coming from a mile away. Now they force tiered data plans with low limits on new subscribers and make it difficult for users who are grandfathered into their old, unlimited plans by throttling usage. Customers pay anywhere from $20 to $100 per month for a data plan with a (soft or firm) limit. Once that limit is reached, the speeds are severely throttled, or the user is automatically charged and overage fee and granted another (small) amount of data to be used until the end of the billing period.

In truth, tiered data likely affects only a small number of users. A report from billmonitor yesterday revealed that a surprising 49 percent of British smartphone users use only 100MB of data per month, yet 88 percent of those users pay for 500MB of data each month. billmonitor also learned that smartphone data use has more than doubled in the past 18 months. The average UK smartphone user now uses 154MB per month, versus the 71MB per month average from 18 months ago. And nearly 30 percent of smartphone users use more than 250MB per month.

When you compare this usage to the data offerings here in the States, it makes you wonder just why people are upset over tiered data. Results from UK smartphone users differ some, but not too much from the average U.S. smartphone user. Just last August, MLB Advanced Media revealed that the average Verizon data user used 512.4MB per month. Yet many still complain about 2GB, 3GB, 5GB and 10GB data limits. It makes you wonder if most people ever come close to their limit, or if they even know how much data they use each month.

That said, there are obviously always going to be power users, such as myself, who struggle to stay below a total of 6GB to 10GB per month. And, to some, my usage might seem sparse. We asked readers in the past how much data they use on average, and some of the responses were surprising. While most of the commenters' usage stayed below the 2GB threshold, some claimed to use over 10GB per month. One commenter even claimed to use 20 to 25GB every month.

What makes all of this more interesting, however, is a study done by Parks Associates research firm. In the Mobile Data and Applications report, Parks Associates claim that two-thirds of Americans are not willing to pay $50 per month for data, reports Engadget. (Shocker!) Furthermore, "the study shows nearly 50 percent of smartphone users are completely oblivious to the amount of data they're consuming every month," says Engadget's Edgar Alvarez.

The question is: how much are you willing to pay for data each month? Also, do you actually use all of your data? Do you keep up with it? Or do you pay for an extra large plan to keep from hitting your limit?

Unfortunately, data is a necessity in my life and I will have to pay for it one way or another. Currently, I pay $100 each month for three separate data plans. I'm not particularly happy about that, and plan on cutting it back in the near future. But at the bare minimum, I will be paying $80 per month for the two plans.

It's safe to say I get my money's worth by using as much as I possibly can without going over. If one of the two plans I pay for was not a grandfathered unlimited plan, I would likely be paying more and getting more overage charges on each bill. I have yet to have a single overage for data, but that's bound to happen with time, as is throttling on my unlimited plan.

But I'm curious, readers. Are you willing to pay $50 or more per month for data? Or do you fall within Parks Associate's statistic? Do you actually keep up with your monthly usage? Have you ever gone over?

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"How much do you spend on data per month?"

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Justin Cartier $30 for unlimited 4g data on Verizon. I was grandfathered in.
Sterling Thomas $30 for 2gb of data. I have Verizon.
Bonnie Roth $30 at&t unlimited grandfathered in
Chris Robinson unlimited is 80, not 30
Chris Robinson how do u get 30 dollars for unlimited on verizon???
Daniel Christopher Hadley ten dollars for as much as I want, pretty nice, compaired to Verizon and AT&T.
Donna Jeary data plan.
Donna Jeary I'm with Sprint, so no data limit. However, in the past two years Sprint has doubled my phone bill by eliminating discounts and switching to a new voo doo economic
Gerald Mccrae Unlimited on Verizon data and mobile hot spot for 60 and I love it use about 16g a mouth
Randy Halphen I have a 2gb on AT&T and I NEVER even come close to my limit. With my 15% discount it only costs about $21.50 a month and I'm very happy. A 3gb/$30 per month would work beautifully for my wife and I as she has only 200mb a month and very nervous about going over.
Elvin Burgos $10 unlimited 4g with Verizon
Tyler Hell $29.99 unlimited on Verizon Wireless
Oscar Falcon $25 with tmobile but they slow down my speed when I pass 5g, so it realy is unlimited? I don't think so!!
Eduardo Ordaz Dang so many verizon dudes.
Chris Stec still have Verizon unlimited data for 30$ a month and thats as high as i would pay!
Avi Rava 2G connection in India, Assam is Rs. 98/month. Only 2GB. 3G connection is Rs.650/month. Amount 2GB. 4G not available in India Assam. Haha. Only in kolkata recently launched.
Brian Edson on top of my 4 line family plan, a total of $60 for 2 unlimited verizon data plans. one of them is 4G LTE, cause my brother sold his soul to Apple.
Michael Spotts 20-30 gigs a month. Thanks sprint now I get to watch tons of porn!!!!!!
Martin Martinez Unlimited with sprint but 3g dont have 4g in ny area with sprint yet
Marti Ruiz Unlimited? F..n tmobile slow down my speen when I pass 10 gb .on the comercial they say "unlimited " 10 gb equal 50 dlrs
Travis Daley When i was with Fido on the $25/month with the Unlimited Browser ad-on it worked with smartphones aswell and i didnt have Internet at home at the time. I use to use 234GB a month and Fido messaged me saying that they were going to charge me $100,000 dollars @ 3 cents per kb ($0.03/kb), 234gb=245366784KB. Then i canceled my account and switched to Petro-Canada Unlimited data for $8.00/month and used 70gb a month.
Luis Meza $30 unlimited with att
Roman Calabaza Martinez $160 a month 2 iPhone 4S' on sprint. Unlimited data, texting, and minutes to mobile numbers and 1500 minutes shared for landlines.
Jaramie Black what app is that taylor?? i need a good app to keep track of my data usage!
Devin Tolliver For people who can't believe the high data usages it easy to hit those peaks. I run Netflix, browse the web and make huge custom ROM download with a bit of tethering and I easily hit 30 gigs a month
Nick Stone $30 for 3GB on ATT
Joe Yarger 29.99 for truely unlimited on Sprint.
Wen Francoix Verizon $30 4gb i use almost 3 gigs (single line)
Nick Arnold 85, but unlimited everything with 6gb
Abram Wenevermet Dennis $30 on 4s & $25 on my ipad.. never use it all wish it rolled over.
Joseph Garcia 30$ Unlimited Verizon 4GLTE about 15-20gb a month
Mauka Side 30 bucks for unlimited.
Mike Cantwell 30 dollars
Vincent Del Pizzo $30 for unlimited data, I'm with Verizon.
Luke Buchanan 12-15GB per month.... unlimited plan here
Chris Downs $90 a month for three phones!
Micca Koster I do you use 70gb a month. I hardly use 2gb. Some you people need to get a life
Alan Holmes 25.00 for 2gb's on AT&T :( Excuse me where's the closet hotspot....LOL
Mark Fisher Jr. Nothing!!!!!
Aaron L. Moore $23.99 unlimited on Verizon!
Brandon Le Marcos G., You are GOD. Haha...
Isaac Shinde around 1.5$ every month in india. believe me its f**king slow
Brandon Le $30 Unlimited with Verizon.
Chris Panda Lopez 15 dollars unlimited 3G with cricket
Parker Ray Hutto 30 dollars unlimited on verizon, had a smartphone before data cap came out.
Travis Daley $8.00 unlimited Smartphone data Petro-Canada ! I use 70gb per month
Justin McGonigal The two folks with crazy monthly usage, is that tethering? It has to be right!?
Mika Kokko 4.99 euros/per month unlimited. Yeahhh
Alex Castillo Big red!
Alex Castillo people on T-Mobile swear they get fast speeds
Jose Be Julme $30 for 5GB data.
Angelo Bruno 24.99 verizon...unlimited data. Would get a family data plan if it's under $50
Philip Stas Free and 2GB / month :D
Alfred Nel Too much we ripped off in South Africa!!
Ryan Mueller 30 for unlimited. good thing 2 because I burn through about 10 gigs a month lol
Jose Manuel Herrera 2 gb 30 $ :(
Arif 3 gb 40 usd..
Christian Kerber 30$ with sprint unlimited and how do people get such high data usage what apps do u use cause i wanna see how much data i can use up because the last month i had was 1 1/2 gb data and I stream everyday on my Epic 4g touch
Marcos Godinez last month i used 182GB of data. gotta love unlimited internet
Ethan Shrago 10 bucks with sprint. Unlimited 3g :D
Ignacio Gonzalez $80...20GB w/vZW.
Flako Ramirez 29.99 Unlimited Sprint :-)
Corey Hockett $35 a month for everything....cause I sell you idiots phones.
Kaushal Parikh $30 for verizon's unlimited data(grandfathered in), used 24.03 GB last billing cycle with my razr maxx.
Mendez Roy 55 dollars for 10 gb on t-mobile
Codiah Wayne Carlson I grandfathered in VZW unlimited.... so 30 bucks
Cosmin Boaca So you pay kinda 30 bucks and ypu have unlimited things???? WoW
Fonzy Paniagua $60 unlimited everything 3g/4g awesome speeds ! Simple Mobile !
Michael Garrett 30.00 a month for unlimited threw vzw..
Hien Nguyen 10$ with sprint unlimited
Tina Marie Burbank I am grandfathered in from Alltel and pay 19.99 a month Unlimited everything on my line.
Manuel Comparan 29.99 unlimited!! Yeaaa
Nain El Fuego Romero 30 for 5gb, T-Mobile averaging 12-16mbps with peaks of 20-25
Chris Hagood $29.99. (Unlimited)
Henry Lavender £10 - Unlimited (No FUP) data + texts and 250 minutes. Haha!
Jerimiah Afabor Approximately 8 dollars thiugh i use a nokia c3
José Luís Ribeiro Lopes 10€ 300mb on blackberry
Howell Ruehl $20/mth for 5gb with T-Mobile. Yeah. Beat that. Lol.
Melissa Rice 30.00 always run out before billing cycle is up and it will run slow, they want 45 to upgrade
Jason Ling I'm grandfathered in under the VZW Unlim Data Package..so, $30/month.
Paul-James Wahlström-Williams $50 on ipad and the 4gb+mbhotspot both on verizon
Bryant Buchanan 30 for verizon unlimited and 30 for at&t
Jared Moore I have an iphone 3gs and i spend $30 a month

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