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How to stop high mobile data overage costs

One of the common calls I get at my customer care calls at my job is on overage on the data on cellphones. It can be very preventable. With data being using more every year, these tips with get you started in keeping costs down.


Top 3 Data Heavy Hitters

1) Streaming
2) Operating System and App Updates
3) Tethering/Hotspot


How to prevent high data usage

1) When connected to Wi-Fi turn the mobile data off. This is the one thing I cannot stress enough to people. The reasoning behind that is sometimes Wi-Fi is not always reliable. If power goes out, faulty router, or too many user on the Wi-Fi kicks you off, the phone will fall back on the mobile data. There also phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 that will use both at the same time.

2) Turn off auto-video in the settings on social media apps/websites – In sites like Facebook and Vine when you scroll over the video, it will automatically play unless you change the settings.

3) Turn off the automatic updates – Some Operation System updates could be more than a Gigabyte. Other reasons are to ensure that you are in 100% Wi-Fi and also to make sure it is not an update that will crash you phone. This is also a good tip that is also good for preventing high data roaming charges. Even if you do not have data on your plan and you go out of the country, any outstanding updates will go through.

4) Apps running in the background – Some apps will use data when left in the background. Look for a task manager app that has the ability turn off all background apps at once but keep in mind some will turn back on. You may have to go into the phone’s app manager to force close the app.

5) Turn off GPS/Location services – Some phone will use data to track everywhere the phone is. It is not really needed on plans with large plans but it is a battery killer keeping it on all the time.

6) Cloud services – Unless you have a large data plan, keep this off or wifi only. If you take a lot of video and photo, depending on your settings it backs up to the cloud.

7) Look for a phone that has build in data limits – This one of the best features to look when buying a phone, you can set a personal warning and stop limit to prevent overage in the first place. I always suggest to put it slightly under what your plan is, as this is what the phone read and may not be 100% to the carrier’s network and you have to make sure that it is set to your billing cycle.

8) Data Blocks/Limits on the carrier side – THIS IS A LAST RESORT! Some carriers do have the ability to set up blocks or limits on their side at the customer’s request. This is a good tip for those you have shared data plan you can call your carrier or go to the carrier’s website to control how much data a user on the plan gets or you feel that a user that been causing the data usage, you can see if you can temporary block the data. PLEASE NOTE: If you do put a data block or suspend the offending line all together make sure that there is PIN on the verification for when calling into the carrier or that user does not know the password to the website of the carrier to prevent that offending user to get the data back on.


As a reminder it is the phone user’s responsibility to keep an eye on their data, not your phone carrier. Not all phone carriers have warnings for when you are close or hit the 100% of your data but most carriers have apps or on the website keep track of where you are on your data. Keep in mind with some carriers, you can bump up your data as long as you call before your billing cycle closes to prevent a high bill and you just pay the difference.

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