How much data do you use per month?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: November 24, 2012

I used to take unlimited data for granted, back when I had it. I never paid any real attention to it. It was there, and I could use it whenever I wanted, but I never realized back then just how important it really was. Why? Because I never had a situation where “I’d go over” and it would become an issue. With unlimited data, there were no worries. Even getting speed-capped wasn’t a big deal, because it never happened. Unlimited data “just was,” and I never thought I’d experience a time where I wouldn’t feel its loving embrace.

But, that time has finally come, and I’m a bit over my head.

Traditionally, I use about 2 to 3GB per month. That’s just enough data to get me through month-to-month, and with that, the ability to do whatever I really need to do, or get done what I need to get done. I’m a writer, and I use my connected devices to further that along. That means I open an app to get writing done, sync it to the cloud, maybe check a few Web pages here and there (or social networks), and then call it good. It’s an easy thing, but one that doesn’t use a lot of data.

This is primarily why I never thought about how much data I was using “back in the day,” even if I was keeping track of it. I knew how much data I was using, which is why when unlimited data went out the window for me, I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Paying for around 6GB of data every month would give me a nice buffer, and it was still “reasonable” to an extent.

Since the launch of Windows Phone 8 and the Nokia Lumia 920, I’ve been using Xbox Music a lot more. And, I made the mistake of using Xbox Music in the same way that I was using Zune Music before it. Meaning, I connected my phone to the computer after downloading songs onto my PC, and tried to sync it. Well, it didn’t work the way I thought it would, but thankfully Xbox Music connected me to their cloud service, so I didn’t actually realize it didn’t work the way I thought it did.

My phone was playing music, and that’s all I really cared about.

I only noticed that something was amiss when I lost service, completely, and my music stopped playing. It was then I realized I wasn’t playing tracks synced locally onto my device, but I was streaming music right from the cloud. I fixed this immediately, but there are still some (in fact, several) songs in my library that are “on my device” solely because of the cloud. So, while I’m listening to my music on my device more often than not, there are several instances where I’m still streaming songs from the cloud.

And it has literally consumed my data faster than I ever expected. And no, this isn’t the first time that I’ve primarily streamed music from the cloud to listen to it. Which is why when I got the notification on my phone earlier this morning that I’ve used up sixty-five percent of my total data allotment for the month, I was beyond shocked.

As of the time of this writing, out of four lines, my account has used 4146.19MB. That breaks down to me, just me, using 3461.62MB. One line has used 1.53MB; the second 158.27MB; and the third a whopping 53.72MB. Now, as I said earlier, I’m used to using data. This isn’t the first time that I’ve gone over 2GB in a month. However, it’s completely different when you don’t expect it to happen. My bill recycles during the first week of December, so I’m seriously considering hiking up my data allotment for the month, just so I don’t have to incur the wrath of overages. That’s something I’ve never done before, and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it.

I don’t think I’m all that happy about it.

So I want to hear your (horror) stories, Dear Reader. I want you to tell me how much data you use a month, but I also want to hear about one month that you used a ridiculous amount of data, and either almost went over your monthly allowance, or managed to go over and incurred some overages. I want to hear about it, so let me know!

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