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How do data plans for smartphones work? Or more specifically, how is the data calculated? I'm on AT&T, and I plan to have the 200 MB for $15 a month plan. It says:

•For Web surfing, sending email, and social networking

•65% of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB per month

•If you go over, you'll get an additional 200 MB automatically for $15

So my questions are:

1) If I do anything besides Web, email, and social networks, will I be charged extra?

2) If most of thier customers use less than 200MB, do you think it will be enough? I fairly computer literate, and would like to be able to use my phone to the fullest extent.

3) What phone activities would most likely push me beyond 200MB?

asked Jan 09 '11 at 18:51

iGeek3's gravatar image


The only thing that will bring you even close to 200mb is HD video from something like youtube.

I have a 2 gig plan, and I frequently push the limit, but only because I watch a lot of youtube on it. With only email and social networks, you'd be hard pressed to push it to 200 mb.

answered Jan 09 '11 at 19:21

Zlpha's gravatar image


I once used up my whole data allowance from just a few webpages on at&t and there wasn't any video so either their rates have changed drastically since I was on at&t or your underestimating data usage per content.

(Jan 09 '11 at 20:18) zman zman's gravatar image

Nope, I use AT&T, if you used up your whole data allowance from a few webpages, where they each like 100mb? Did you sit there for 10 minutes waiting for them to load? I think you must be mistaken

(Jan 09 '11 at 20:34) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

I don't know how much data each page used and they loaded in a few seconds.

(Jan 09 '11 at 20:36) zman zman's gravatar image

Your cell must be much faster than a fully functioning wired desktop computer then!

**I'm trying to say nicely that you're wrong

(Jan 09 '11 at 20:38) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

Actually the speed of the cell phone has nothing to do with it because it was a webpage made for cell phone access.

**As am I, you

(Jan 09 '11 at 20:52) zman zman's gravatar image

yes, the data rate has everything to do with it, as 3g speeds cannot download a large file, such as a page which is 100mb, in only a few seconds. You didn't max out your data plan by visiting a few pages unless your data plan was 5mb

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:37) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

I wasn't talking about the data rate, I was talking about speed but I think it was a 5mb plan.

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:40) zman zman's gravatar image

why are you even arguing zman?

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:42) makkar makkar's gravatar image

just giving my view and standing by it

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:47) zman zman's gravatar image

your view is irrelevant here, as we're talking about 200mb plans, not 5 mb ones

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:48) Zlpha Zlpha's gravatar image

forget it I haven't used my cell phone for web access in years so this is all irrelevant to me

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:59) zman zman's gravatar image
showing 5 of 11 show all

Zepplinne is absolutely right. Another thing that uses it up a lot is if you play multiplayer games over 3G.

answered Jan 09 '11 at 19:31

zee967's gravatar image


They say it is for "Web surfing, sending email, and social networking" because anything else would put you over the limit within days. For example, the android version of pandora uses 20-30mb per hour

Also, the "65% of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB per month" is a delusion that exists only in the heads of the AT&T execs (and in the scripts that AT&T's PR people are required to read). This delusion is the main reason you can't get decent data speeds in large metropolitan areas.

If you only need 200mb per month, you probably don't need a smartphone.

answered Jan 09 '11 at 20:54

Darkfibre's gravatar image


edited Jan 09 '11 at 21:11

absolutely correct!!!

(Jan 09 '11 at 21:02) zman zman's gravatar image

I know tons of people who don't come close to the 200mb limit

(Jan 09 '11 at 22:42) makkar makkar's gravatar image

well what if I want a smartphone and am in a lot of wifi zones? then it would still be worth it to get one.

(Feb 06 '11 at 09:11) iGeek3 iGeek3's gravatar image

If you want to use it to the fullest extent, get a higher plan

answered Jan 09 '11 at 22:43

makkar's gravatar image


It depends on the phone OS and what you want to do. I would agree with AT&T that 65% of wbe users don't use more than that.

Are you think, Android, iPhone, WP7, BlackBerry, etc.?

Android phones seem to be heavy data compared to other because the apps don't seem (to me) to be as light weight as other phones.

answered Jan 09 '11 at 21:11

FizzNakLe's gravatar image


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Asked: Jan 09 '11 at 18:51

Seen: 36,307 times

Last updated: Feb 06 '11 at 09:11