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Cellular data is worth its weight in gold these days. With the exception of Sprint and T-Mobile here in the States, carriers are clamping down on usage, charging arguably outrageous prices for limited amounts of data. With either a hard or soft cap, users who go over their limit can expect to pay an automatic fee for an additional 1GB or suffer heavy throttling.

The move to tiered data – and now the more recent transition towards shared data buckets – isn't an easy one for some. For most, however, it's a change made when upgrading a phone that they will never give a second thought. Moving from unlimited data to a cap may not sound good on paper. But you might be surprised how little data you actually use on average.

In August, TechNewsDaily reported new findings from NPD. The research firm found that the vast majority of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon customers do not exceed the 2GB threshold. "And virtually no one uses over 3GB," says TechNewsDaily's Sean Captain.

None of this should come as a surprise. In August of last year, I explained how little tiered data has done to slow the rise of data consumption. Even then, the average Verizon customer used 512MB of data each month. And the overall figure isn't too far from that. In July, research firm Nielsen reported that the average U.S. mobile subscriber used 450MB per month in Q1 2012, which is more than double the figure of 208MB from the same quarter the previous year.

Average data consumption is certainly on the rise. But the majority of subscribers still use far less data each month than the smallest tiered plan offered.

The question I have for you ladies and gents is: do you ever go over your monthly data cap?

I reluctantly welcomed tiered data into my life when I switched to AT&T in April. I signed up for a 5GB plan, and shortly thereafter, I expressed my animosity towards tiered data. I found myself constantly checking my usage, conserving every little bit I could until the last week of the month. For anything major that I needed, such as a video or a large download, I relied on my Verizon line, which had unlimited data until I made the switch to the iPhone 5 last month.

I was extremely skeptical cutting the final ties to my long-held unlimited data plan with Verizon. But I have now been off unlimited data for over a month and things are going smoothly. I now have a 5GB plan on AT&T and a 2GB plan on Verizon. Currently, on day 16 of the 31-day billing cycle, I have used 1.3GB on my AT&T line and 1.3GB on the Verizon line, for which the cycle ends on November 4.

This is a far cry from my data usage before, where I would use upwards of 8GB each month. But it's not that I use my phones less or that I've sacrificed everything to stay beneath my caps. I have simply cut back on streaming video and downloading excessively large files.

That said, I still stream via Spotify fairly daily. I still upload camera photos (and some videos) directly to my Dropbox account over cellular. And I still post tons of pictures to my social accounts. I browse the Web a lot more, I spend a lot more time in Google Maps than before and I have been tethering a lot more recently.

I simply find myself relying on Wi-Fi much more often now, rather than using LTE for everything. And it makes a huge difference without forcing me to sacrifice the functionality of my device(s) in favor of a smaller monthly rate.

I have yet to go over my limit, though I have come close. And I'm still a bit conservative at the beginning of the month while I tend to let loose for the last week or so. But I haven't had to pay an overage fee … yet.

Have you? Do you ever go over your data cap? Do you just use your data and deal with overages later? Or are you conservative with your bits until the end of the month? How much data do you use on average?


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Hubert John Abiera I'm throttled right now for T-Mobile. Lol about 800 MB over my 2GB.
Antonio Watkins Not with Sprint
Frank Porter I've received a text from AT&T warning me of using over 3 gb of data on my "unlimited' data plan, and that further "abuse" will result in throttled speeds. So Yeah, I guess you could say I have. Bunch of BS
Bill Stewart 4 gb plan works ok for now. When 4G is more spread out that could change.
Rene Robledo Never, sprint ftw.
Gabriel Martinez Sometimes....when I get a warning that I'm approaching my limit I get a lil conservative. I use wifi at home that helps me too.
Vicente Reyes Bf just upgraded his iPhone 4 for the atrix HD for free and the grandfathered unlimited plan, his 4g with the test today with 3 bars was 21mb down and 6mb up. ;-)
Ross Silva Data caps??...whats that? Hint: Sprint *wink* *wink*
Vicente Reyes He has the Razr know and still has Verizon's grandfathered unlimited plan.
Vicente Reyes Roommate used 30gb in one month do to rooting his DROID milestone and wifi hotspot. Lol fun times. Also Xbox live. Haha
Andy Huynh Ever since I upgraded to my S3 and VZW retracted my unlimited data, yes. At 2gb...usually use abt 3gb.
Joe Yarger Nppe! I happily use between 12-19 gb a month (Netflix mostly) on my unlimited Sprint plan!
Erick Vargas Ocampo I have 5 gb on AT&T and I use 10 xD .. Now that's expensive
David Brewer Never have. Then again, I'm around wifi most of the time.
Eric Kroh Unlimited 4g on Verizon!!!
JD Thayn Nope, unlimited data
Douglas M. Smith Not yet...lots to spare.
Luis Robles Figueroa Most of the time that is why I got the new unlimited plan from T-Mobile "Unlimited Nationwide 4G. Just got tire of data cap.
Marti Ruiz now real unlimited data with tmobile, last month u used only 8gb
Krishna Adettiwar Nope :) UNLIMITED!
Brandon Johnson I used to go over every month after the 4s came out, until like febrary.
Bob Rhode No, unlimited family Data Plan with AT&T.
Brandon Le Grandfathered unlimited. :P
Paul De Lozier @Jacob-amen. I still have mine too.
Willie Lucero Nope even what i consider heavy use: pandora, fb, youtube, texts, and netflix everyday for hours on end i barely get up to 1 gb and im on 4g 99% of the time lol
Ashley Staudenmaier Bounce off wifi
Jacob B Dupuy Avg 10gig amonth thankfully got my grandfather unlimited vzw :)
Justcallme Ren Man I'm scared to even log onto Facebook after what att did to me last month... ( •_•)
Jacob Petrie Hard to when you have unlimited..
Jesse Robert Bochek Never. Usually use like 100mb out of a gig.
Mathew Duhamel still have unlimited on verizon
Jacob Robert No....5gb plan.....us cellular 28 mbps down.....18 up.
Larry L Roe At isacc tmobile have truly unlimited now now more caps call and change your web plan it's the same as sprint not but I have sprint no caps no slow down
Aaron Bergman 4gb and I normally hit just over 2. WiFi auto connect apps ftw.
Isaac Castillo I have t mobile and it caps at 5 gb... I don't even use 1 gb lol
Matt Cain I did once with Verizon. However, since that I have found a data plan that works better for me. I live in a rural area so I have to use my phone for internet.
Brian Dunn I have Sprint and love it, never have to worry about going over my data limit cause there is no limit, yea Sprint ain't the fastest network, but I have 4G so I'm very satisfied.
Sebastian Gomes Nope, I still have my unlimited data with Verizon
Allan Jesus Hernandez I don't. I don't understand how people do. I use up less than 1GB. Granted I'm on WiFi a lot but still.
Jose Morales Negative. Unlimited data courtesy of Sprint
Marcus Edwards No because if I see myself approaching I go online and change the data plan to allow for more data. And then the next month I go in and lower it
Nick Guerrero G I did last month, by 2GB at&t
Bill Siembida Unlimited
Stephanie Wall Nope unlimited with sprint and my speeds are not that bad
Ben Marvin Every single month I go over T-Mobile's 5GB and get throttled.
Angelica Perez Unlimited data w/ Verizon
Anton Miskulin Not anymore. Unlimited T-Mobile data :) no more soft caps!
Alan Holmes Yes. All the time. 2GB for 25.00 on AT&T I'm using 4-5GB per month. I wish I had unlimited! Data on AT&T is fast though!
Nadia Merhai No I get throttled if I do.
Justin White nope. i'm on wifi 90 of the time.
Josiah Mayo No Verizon unlimited
Cory Wood No, unlimited data Verizon!
Luis Reich No. Unlimited Verizon data




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