I’ve wrestled with the exploding cost of cellular data costs for my home and small business use. I’m not doing anything different that would account for the increase in data use. In fact, over the past three years I’ve dramatically cut back on practical use of internet technologies – no more web cam, music services, or video use – but still continue to see increasing data use and costs month after month. The usage appears to be connected with hosted data programs like the WordPress app that I am using to write this post.
My data use went from 10GB a short time ago to 20GB to 30GB, to 60GB and now at 70GB per month. About a month ago I became scared when I saw that the escalating trend, left unchecked, would leave me with a data bill of over $1,000 per month by the end of 2017. I had to try something different.
For background, I should explain that I live and work in a rural working waterfront area of New Jersey between New York and Washington DC, about 50 miles due south of center city Philadelphia. We are not served by cable. Our only connections with the outside world comes via wireless signal. The services use are Microsoft Office, G suite, hosted file sharing and various hosted database programs.
For years I relied on Verizon Wireless but gave up my unlimited data plan when they started throttling data use. At the time I figured it was better to pay more to ensure the fastest service. But the opposite happened. Verizon cuts my service back to an unusable snail’s pace whenever I get close to my data plan maximum. I also used Hughes wireless internet because of intermittent service and high cost.
Today I finally got set up on T-Mobile and am able to directly compare their performance on the same machine at the same time. I used bandwidthplace.com so that could compare the same machine, doing the same tasks at exactly the same time and location. Here are the results:
Verizon Wireless is not fast, but is reliable. I pay $4.50 per gigabyte and currently use about 3 GB per day.
The T-Mobile internet signal is agonizingly slow. But the data cost is fixed regardless of usage. For me, the cost works out to about $2 per GB. This is a substantial savings. One thing that concerns me more is that T-Mobile says they will throttle back speed even further when my data use goes higher.
According the the test, the page load time could be 25X longer for T-Mobile. In practical experience, I found that this translates to an average page load time of a few seconds to almost a minute.
I’ll probably keep both Verizon and T-Mobile based on the projection of increasing data use over the next year. But I’m not happy with ether.