As basic flip phones turned into messaging phones, and messaging phones turned into smartphones, the most important features of our mobile plans also shifted. The allotted amount of minutes was most important for flip phones; messaging phones brought about a surge in demand for more text messages to be sent; finally, with smartphones, the demand for data has never been higher. However, when it comes to mobile data, which aspect is more important: the amount of data we use, or the speed at which we receive our data?
Most commercials I see that advertise data in smartphone plans lately revolve around how much data you get rather than the speed at hich you get it. When I hear advertisements of 10GB, 20GB, 30GB or even unlimited amounts of data, and I think, “Wow, that company is super generous with their data!” But as generous as they might be, does it really matter if your data only works at a snail’s pace?
Some are lucky enough to experience both, but more often than not you’re more likely to hear that somebody is getting shafted on one end or the other. As somebody who has had unlimited data with an extremely slow data network and a faster data network with a limited amount of data to use each month, I have to say that, in hindsight, I much prefer the speed over the vast amounts of data - mostly because in reality I never used that much.
I used to value the fact that I didn’t have to worry about treading the dangerous waters of overage fees when it came to data, and in a way it is still a comforting though. With that being said, when my data would run at a painfully slow pace, I tended to give up whatever it was I was trying to do and not end up using any data at all. Generally, whatever it was I wanted to do could wait until I could connect to a faster Wi-Fi network. In fact, for the most part, I don’t even have a reason to use data while I’m out anymore. My GPS maps and my Spotify playlists are already synced for offline use.
So much for unlimited data.
Ideally, of course, people shouldn’t have to choose between speed and amount - but the reality of it is that sometimes people just do. Maybe Verizon has a great and speedy network in the area, but Verizon no longer offers unlimited data. Or perhaps you like that Sprint gives you unlimited data for life, but as it turns out Sprint’s data speeds aren’t all that great in your area. The fact of the matter is that sometimes you just can’t have both, so when that is the case, which one do you choose?
Personally, I’m no longer concerned about unlimited data like I used to be. Yeah, it’s nice, but I don’t think there’s ever been a month where I went over 3GB of data usage, and even then that is a rarity. I’m better off settling for 2GB of data with a speedy network over anything else - at least then I have a chance at using what I’m paying for.
In the end, it all depends on the person and their needs, so here’s where we ask you, reader - when it comes to your data plans, which is more important: the amount of data you’re given each month, or the speed of the data? Are you lucky enough to have both? Let us know in the comments below!
Image via Car and Driver