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If you own a cell phone in todays day and age, theres no doubt youve heard about data data plans, data caps, data charges. Usually, people like to talk about data whenever they run out of it!

All this chatter might have you wondering why do I even need a data plan?

The Plain & Simple

Phones today have tons of great features. You can check email, get directions, and even chat over video. Ultimately, you can stay connected at all times. But in order to do so, your device needs to be able to connect to the Internet to send and receive data.

If youre somewhere that offers Wi-Fi (like your house), staying connected is as simple as logging on to the server. However, if you want to stay connected on the go, youre going to need a data plan to give you access to your providers data network.

Why would you want to stay connected while youre out and about? So you can take advantage of these features:


GPS is a wonderful way to get around town. However, those map apps definitely use data. In order to find your destination, note your current location, and give you turn-by-turn directions, your GPS app needs to be connected to the Internet.

Dont feel like keeping up with the data costs? Google Maps now allows you to use sections of the map offline. However, you wont be able to get turn-by-turn instructions. For detailed directions, look up the steps before you go and take pictures of the maps. Or, do it the old fashioned way write it down!


Imagine youre on the beach with the family and you take a great photo of everyone hanging out together. If your first instinct is to upload the picture perfect moment to Instagram or Facebook, youre going to need a data plan.

In order to upload and post to social media, you need to first be able to access it, which requires an Internet connection. While you can draft posts offline on some channels (like Facebook), your device needs to be connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi or your cellular data network in order to actually publish.


When you buy a new song off of iTunes, save a picture from the Internet, or even update one of your apps, youre downloading something to your phone. And while you may think you can avoid doing this on the go, its harder than you think.


Because this also applies to downloading attachments in emails!


Speaking of email, keeping up with all of those work emails on the go also requires some data! If youre an active email sender, youll want to be sure you have some sort of data plan included on your device so you can receive access to your providers cellular data network.

However, emails take up relatively little data. As long as youre not sending/receiving multiple photos and large attachments, you dont have to worry about blowing through your data plan.


Did you know free messaging apps work over the Internet? Apples iMessage and apps like Voxer and WhatsApp all use an Internet connection to send and receive messages.

These apps are great if you dont want to burn through your text messages, but beware! You could end up using all of your data allowance especially if youre sending pictures and video!


Streaming music and video is perhaps the biggest culprit when it comes to activities that gobble up your data. When you watch a video on YouTube, Netflix, or even on Facebook, youre device is using data if its not connected to Wi-Fi.

If youre planning on watching movies on your long car ride or listening to Pandora on your jog around the park, know that youll have to use data, and youll most likely have to use a lot!

The Takeaway

When you stop and think about it, its amazing how much we use our phones on the go, isnt it? Thankfully, mobile phone technology has advanced to give us a way to stay connected whenever wed like through data plans!

Do you have more questions about phone data? Feel free to reach out to us on Facebook.