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Data on a Cell Phone What is Data on a Cell Phone?

What is Data on a Cell Phone

What is Data Usage?
Most cell phone plans available today have a monthly data usage limit, meaning they charge and track any mobile data used over a cellular connection. Exceeding a cell phone plan's data limit can become quite costly. If you exceed your allotted data there will be extra fees and they are often charged at a premium.

What is Considered Data?
When referring to data usage in a cell phone plan, it refers to any data exchanged using the cellular networks. In a nut shell, mobile data allows your cell phone to access the Internet without a wi-fi connection.  Everything done over a cellular network uses mobile data, for example sending an email, text or doing an Internet search all use mobile data. The amount of mobile data used by each task can vary greatly. A relatively small amount of data is used to send a text or an email, but streaming movie uses a large amount of data.

While cell phones can send and receive information over a wireless cellular connection, they can also exchange data over a wi-fi Internet connection.  If the phone is using a cellular connection to exchange data it counts toward your mobile data plan, if the phone is connected to wi-fi Internet then it does not count toward your mobile data plan. 

Almost every application on your smartphone uses data in order to run, the amount of data each application uses can vary drastically.  Sending a text message requires a small amount of data, while streaming an HDR movie requires a lot of data.  In general the following list shows data usage from smallest to largest.

1. Text (multimedia messages that contain photos or videos use more data)
2. Email
3. Photo
4. Music
5. Online Gaming
6. Video/Movie

Some carriers measure data usage differently, so be sure to check with your carrier for it's measurements and your specific plan limits.

Remember if data is transferred to the mobile phone using a Wi-Fi connection it does not count against your data plan. It goes without saying, if you have the option to use a secure/safe Wi-Fi connection it will save you on your mobile data usage.

View What Uses Data on a Cell Phone

Article Date: June 10, 2020


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