What is mobile data?

Find out what it is and how to get the most from it

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Definition of mobile data

Mobile data allows smartphone users to access the internet, even without Wi-Fi access. If you have a data-enabled device, you’ll access your apps, information, email, and more using smartphone data. Your carrier will automatically charge any cellular data usage through your elected data plans.

Advantages of mobile data

You probably watch TV shows, listen to streaming music, and access apps and the internet on your smartphone over Wi-Fi via wireless router. When you’re not at home, you probably freely use the Wi-Fi available in their office, coffee shops, restaurants, retail locations, and hotels. However, if you’re out of Wi-Fi range, your device will automatically use cellular data to access the internet. The main benefit of using mobile data, is so you can access to your content and the internet.

Disadvantages of mobile data

The main problem with using mobile data depends heavily on which mobile carrier you prefer. For example, your device displays an icon which shows your internet connection strength. For example, your phone may display a 3G or a 4G when you use your mobile data. These numbers represent the strength of your internet speed. 3G speed now is considered slow, 4G is faster, and 4G LTE is the fastest. If your carrier only offers 3G speeds, you might experience difficulty accessing the internet without interruptions and lags. Some people with slow mobile data prefer to use Wi-Fi access, only because it takes too long to accomplish searches at 3G speeds.

Using cellular data can get expensive, which is the most significant disadvantage. Depending on your mobile carrier, you may or may not have an unlimited amount of data available to you as part of your mobile data plan. However, it’s best to know the allowances or limits placed on data usage by your mobile carrier. You’ll want to avoid data overage fees at the end of your billing cycle to cut your bill. We share some tips for using less smartphone data below.

Tips and tricks of mobile data

There are several steps to monitor your data usage and avoid extra fees at the end of your billing cycle. Most carriers allow you to check the amount of data you have used during your billing period online or via mobile apps. Other carriers will send you alerts if you approach your device’s data limit.

Another way to cut down on cellular data usage is to remember to close unused apps, to avoid using background data. Some apps can run without your knowledge, so check your data usage on your phone to know which apps to close. Go to your device’s preferences so you can limit the apps that use background data. Or even just cut mobile data usage by limiting or turning off push notifications for your apps.

Save mobile data, turn off cellular data for cloud in your phone’s preferences, disable autoplay on videos, disable automatic downloads, Wi-Fi assist, and background app refresh. Automatic updates and downloads use quite a bit of data. So unless it’s an update that is absolutely necessary, you should wait until you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Recommended reading

 For more information on mobile data, visit the following TCC Blog articles:

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