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This guest post by Simon Drew of Best Mobile Contracts
The mobile phone industry has developed at a rapid pace in the last few years with most people now wanting to own one of the latest smartphones. With smartphones now being convergent devices offering web browsing, games and multimedia alongside basic calls and messages there are now more ways for phones to cost you money than ever before.
Previously all you needed to worry about was how many phone calls or messages you used. Prepay services allow you to choose how much to spend on such services and many contracts such as an iPhone 5 contract can be quite generous in the amount of free minutes and text messages you are offered. Everyone has a rough idea of how much time they are likely to spend talking on a phone each month or how many messages they are likely to send and so can easily pick out a phone contract to reflect this. When it comes to mobile internet usage though it is not so easy to determine how much is needed. The data allowance offered by phone network providers will typically be in megabytes with perhaps 100MB, 500MB or 1GB available for use each month. However, most of us have become accustomed to using the internet on our home computers, where internet usage is not typically measured in such ways. This is why for many people choosing the right amount of data allowance can be confusing and hard to get right first time.
Some people will not choose enough and each month may have to pay additional charges when they overstretch their allowance. Others may choose too much and therefore be paying more for their contract than they really need to. There are some websites that now offer calculators where you can estimate how much you will need based on your browsing habits. For example, if you just check your emails and look at a couple of websites a day you will not really need a great deal of data. If you are constantly streaming YouTube videos and playing multi-player games then you may need significantly more.
What these calculators do not take into consideration is that with many smartphones some of the apps that are installed may make use of the internet connection when you are not using them. These apps can therefore eat up your data allowance without you even being aware of it. An example of this may be a real time social media apps such as the Facebook widget for Android, which will constantly be updating with your friends’ latest status updates.
One way of avoiding having to pay extra monthly charges due to background apps is to turn off 3G support when it is not in use. Many smartphones will also come with Wi-Fi support, which can be used for internet browsing instead when you are within range of an open Wi-Fi network. This also has the benefit of being much faster than 3G connections.
When getting a new smartphone contract that you would like to use for web browsing, it is advisable to try and get a good idea of how much browsing you are realistically likely to use. You can save a great deal of money each month by not opting for unnecessary data but you could also incur additional charges if you go too low. As well as this, not all contracts come with a data allowance, so if one is not mentioned by your retailer you may find 3G web browsing to be a particularly expensive affair.
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