Mobile networks are slowly doing away with mobile phone deals offering “unlimited” mobile internet and instead are launching packages that cap monthly 3G use - usually to 500MB, 750MB or 1GB.
Exceeding your package’s allowance or “data bundle” could cost you dear, so read on to discover our five top tips for managing data costs on mobile phones.
Downing a special app to your mobile phone is the simplest way of avoiding extra mobile internet charges.
These apps constantly count how much data is sent to and received by your mobile phone so that, at any point during the month, you can quickly check how much of your allowance remains.
Apps such as the “Download Meter for Wi-Fi” on the iPhone and the “3G Watchdog” for Android smartphones, including the HTC Desire and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro, display your remaining mobile internet as a percentage of your monthly bundle.
For example, if your iPhone had consumed 250MB of your package’s 500MB allowance then the tracking app would show that you have 50% remaining.
Neither app will stop your mobile phone from accessing the internet if you exceed your package’s limit however. But they should give you a better idea of which mobile internet services eat most heavily into your quota.
Bolting an extra mobile internet data bundle onto your standard monthly Contract Deals is a cheap way of boosting your allowance, letting you check emails and surf the internet from your mobile phone more often.
Because some mobile networks charge upwards of £4 per megabyte you download outside of your package’s mobile internet allowance, data bundles are a cheap way of giving yourself more online phone time.
Bundles and their prices vary between network operators, with some offering an extra 500MB - enough for plenty of emails and web surfing - for just £5 per month.
Other operators may even let you add the bundle when you need it, making bolt-on data bundles a great way of staying online while on holiday.
Mobile phone-friendly websites are specially designed to make the most of your mobile internet allowance.
Unlike websites accessed from a PC, phone-friendly websites often have smaller images, fewer videos and a redesigned layout to ensure your mobile need only download a small amount of data.
These changes also make the site quicker to load and easier to navigate - especially if you’re using a touchscreen phone.
The BBC and eBay have both already launched mobile-friendly versions of their websites.
Shutting down apps for the likes of social networking and email services will also preserve your mobile internet allowance.
Because some of the most popular smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S, “multi-task”, some apps will still be connected to the internet while you aren’t using them - perhaps to download a new Facebook post or check for new emails.
Closing apps also helps preserve your mobile phone battery life.
It’s free to surf the internet over your home wi-fi connection and doing so won’t eat into your deal’s mobile internet allowance.
Connecting your mobile phone to your home broadband connection will impact your broadband deal’s monthly download limit. But unless you’re streaming films to your phone or downloading large files, like films, you are unlikely to notice a difference.
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