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Wireless Association Site Estimates Apps' Data Usage

Dec 27 2013, 6:26pm CST | by

Wireless Association Site Estimates Apps' Data Usage
Photo Credit: Forbes

CTIA, the wireless association, has launched a new site that enables mobile device users to estimate data requirements for popular apps. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones with an unlimited data plan, it’s an important piece of information because most plans limit how much data you can download in a month without incurring extra charges.

The Site, lets you browse by category or search for apps to find out how many megabytes it’s likely to use up in a typical month. Of course, it totally depends on how you use the app but — for example — it calculates 433.77 MB per month for a Facebook user who, on a daily basis, engages in three sessions of the following scenario: “Posting 5 Comments, “Liking” 5 posts, viewing one embedded video, viewing 3 embedded photos, scroll through Timeline, 1 Check-In, Uploading 1 photo.”  That, according to the app, would use up 21% of a 2GB data plan.

Netflix, as you might imagine, can quickly use up a lot of data. For example, you could eat up 4,228.8 MB of data (more than twice a 2 GB allotment) if your daily scenario included 2 sessions of the following: Search for TV show, Watch TV show (for 9 minutes), Add TV show to favorites, pause video, turn on captions, rotate device, adjust volume, rewind/fast forward, view category.  That’s a lot of data for not much actual viewing.

The site can be browsed by sections that include featured, top paid, top free and top rated as well as such categories as games, travel, finance, health and fitness photo & video and social networking.

The site has the following recommendations to conserve data on your smartphone:

  • Switch from cellular to Wi-Fi service where secure Wi-Fi is available;
  • Adjust your apps’ settings to stop or minimize updates unless you’re on a secure Wi-Fi hotspot;
  • Minimize apps that aren’t in use so they’re not running in the background;
  • Uninstall any apps you don’t use.

The site’s sponsor, CTIA is an association of wireless carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Disclosure: I’ am co-director of, a non-profit Internet safety organization that has been contracted by CTIA to write a parents guide to mobile.

Source: Forbes

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