Understanding phone plans
A phone plan is a paid agreement with a mobile carrier that allows your cell phone makes use of their network for services such as phone calls, text messages, and mobile data (internet access). These services are typically bundled into one plan as inclusions, but can be sold as separate voice and SMS plans, as well as data plans.
It is important to stay aware of your monthly expenditure, particularly the amount of data included in your plan. That way, you can determine which phone plan suits your needs best and stick to it.
Why should I check my iPhones mobile data?
It’s important to know how to monitor your data. As long as you have an active phone plan, there are ways through which you can check your data usage and balance.
Checking the balance of any aspect of a phone plan — be it voice, messages or data — is grossly overlooked. While deemed unimportant to a lot of customers, it is, perhaps, one of the most essential aspects of operating on a mobile network. By knowing and monitoring your plan balance, a slew of charges can be avoided.
This is even more important on the iPhone, as iPhone users tend to burn more data than Android users.
iPhone users need more data than Android users. Source: Whatphone
- Using your telco: Telcos offer their subscribers a unique set of ways to monitor their mobile data. From phone calls to customer care representatives to text messages and even self-service apps, there are numerous ways to monitor your data usage.
- Using your Apple iPhone’s settings: With iPhones, consumers are able to monitor their data usage locally with their devices. To see how much data you’ve been consuming.
- Go to Settings > Cellular or Settings > Mobile Data. Here, you can see each application and the amount of data it has consumed throughout your phone’s service period (assuming you have not reset your statistics).
- Check your data usage for individual System Services by going to Settings > Cellular or Settings > Mobile Data. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap System Services. Here, you can view the data usage statistics for an app from a current period, or view app data statistics for apps that use data when you were roaming.
- Using 3rd party applications: There are 3rd party apps that are designed to read data usage alongside a slew of other nifty features. Depending on the app, subscribers will be able to read data usage as well as set reminders for data limits and so much more. Some of the most popular 3rd party data apps include My Data Manager and Data Saver.
Comparing what’s available: Phone plans vs. SIM Only plans
Subscribers who are interested in owning iPhones can do so in one of two ways:
- A Contract Phone Plan — these phone plans are contractual agreements offered by telcos that grant eligible subscribers the opportunity to purchase a mobile device along a SIM plan. The device is then paid off monthly across a 12-36 month period. The pay-off time is solely dependent on the contract entered by the individual and telco.
- A SIM Plan — With SIM Only plans, the network provides the subscriber with a SIM card only. The subscriber who wishes to join their network must have their own mobile device where the SIM will be activated on. On both SIM only and phone plans, customers can opt for prepaid or postpaid bundles provided by the telco.
Final words: Buy the iPhone outright and add a SIM
Although contract phone plans are often touted as cheaper, nothing could be further from the truth. Phone contracts may save you money on the device but on the service in total, you’ll be getting no savings. Aside this factor, contract phone plans are heavily restrictive. They cage those under their contracts for as long as the contract is due. Should they desire to terminate early, steep termination costs await them. In the end, it is simply not worth the struggle. If you can afford to, purchase your phone outright and get a separate SIM Only plan.