Is a smartphone data plan worth the extra money?

Joe Videtto May 20, 2012
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I’ve been wanting a smartphone for apps over wi-fi access, but I don’t really see myself using the data plan for Internet access other than to synch either a Google or Hotmail Contact list with my phone. To date, I much prefer to access the Internet on my beautiful large screen 24″ monitor than use a small phone screen.

For the extra $ 360 it would cost me for the data plan, I could go with a dumb phone and put that $360 into an Ipod Touch for the wi-fi/apps combo.

Before I make my final decision, can anyone tell me if they were thinking similarly, which way they went, and if they were happy or had any regrets ?

  1. Marie
    May 28, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Look into the security of these conveniences.I loved my Iphone 4 until I updated it.Am still shaking and repairing damage from having my email accounts hacked.To make a long story short: As I would enter new passwords to get a new account or resets to try to gain controll I would immediately lose that password and acct.Until I realised that if my phone was off it wouldn't happen.Mean time my contacts are being asked to wire money to someone.My profiles changed.Mobile number was changed and contacts are not happy.I miss it terribly but as I said only when my phone was on did this happen.

  2. Kannon Y
    May 22, 2012 at 5:19 am

    My current plan runs $25 a month for unlimited data with 300 minutes of talk time. I use VoIP to basically get unlimited talk time.

    What's ridiculous is that there are actually far better plans on the market right now particularly from the start up Republic Wireless, which offers an unlimited plan for $19 a month. Anyway, that said, for what I'm paying, data has been worth every penny. Why? One word: GPS (or is that three?).

    Most of the pain of driving is not knowing where you're going. It's also the time when I'm panicked, exhausted and most likely to make critical and dangerous errors behind the wheel. Prior to owning an Android phone, I'd routinely consult maps and keep wadded up driving directions scribbled on napkins, before leaving the apartment. GPS changed all that.

    Now all my outrageous accidents can be blamed on the phone! :-)

    Just kidding. In all honesty, GPS isn't the only must-have feature of a modern smartphone. Being able to access Wikipedia/Wolfram Alpha at all locations is as close to the HHGTTG that we'll ever get.

    Republic Wireless's $19 unlimited data plan:

    The Republic plan uses a combination of WiFi and cellular connections to keep rates low. I've never used it, but it's the phone I plan on upgrading to once my current phone dies.

  3. Joe Videtto
    May 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks for all your comments - I think I will probably end up with the smartphone and data plan, and as some have suggested below - while at first I can't see the need, I'm sure I'll learn to love it and think it's worth the money. This is how it was initially with my phone minutes - initially, I couldn't see the need. Then, I started enjoying chatting with my friends while walking my dog. Amazing how the tech industry can fill a need you never knew you had : )

    THanks for all your feedback.

    May 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Hello, I would say that depends on your circumnstances. If you are the kind of person always on the move and you need to check your email and other stuff regularly, I would spend the money on data plan because it is convenient.

    Now, if you would rather check/sync your email at home and you are not on the move all the time, I would just get a phone that can be connected to wireless networks and connect it to yours.

  5. Mike DeGeorge
    May 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Update: If it really costs that much for the data plan(I didn't really read all of what you said at first), then it's not worth it. Don't spend that extra money.

  6. Mike DeGeorge
    May 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    It is sooo worth the extra money. Having everything at your fingertips(GPS for instance) is just amazing. Good if you get lost or if you need to look up something. I have definitely started using my data more and more since I've gotten my iPhone.

  7. Robert
    May 21, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Joe, when I first got this phone (Nexus One) two years ago, I did not get a data plan for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I simply did not see enough value added to spend another $360 / year. I still feel that way. I have since added a data plan, but only because of a plan that Tmobile offers that ended up costing me an extra $120 / year for my plan (two phones). Downside of this plan is there is no free/discounted phone every two years.

  8. Ole Funch
    May 21, 2012 at 7:49 am

    You are so far right , but I think an iPad is way too big to wear in your/my trouser pocket (lol) ?
    I can not think of being without my data planer/smartphone at all, but every one his opinion ?

  9. Nathan
    May 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

    In Australia - Amaysim unlimited - unlimited talk and text and 4gb data for $ 39.95 a month.

    No brainer considering I hotspot from my galaxy s2

  10. Djizeus
    May 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Hi Joe,

    I felt exactly thre same before buying my first iPhone! I also thought it was pretty stupid to have so many services using your battery, taking the risk to not have any left for when you need to call someone. I finally gave it a try for the apps, as you think of doing... and now it completely change my perspective on mobile computing! Is a data plan worth it? Well you might not think so to start with, but give it a couple of months and you'll be on Internet 10 times a day on your smartphone. So yes, I would recommend to take the data plan, as buying an iPod touch on top of your phone will in the end prove useless.

    Hope it helped :)

  11. Shawn
    May 21, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I don't think there is ever a time where you don't regret spending money in someway or other IDK maybe Bill Gates doesn't but either way. having the convince of the data plan grows on you alot and fast. oh hey want to goto the movies. well there you go want to got lost and need to look up directions. already left the house and you realized that you forgot that email that your friend sent to you telling you where to meet them at.

    yes there is absolutely nothing that a data plan does that you CANNOT do with out it.. that being said I don't think that I ever can live with out a data plan on my cell I really could do with out the minutes.

    or if your internet goes down at home for any reason you have a backup!

    or my big one is on the go and need to update a server or restart a service can be done right from your hand

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