Talking tech since 2003

Most all of us have at one point or another been robbed by our mobile phone carriers by the ridiculously expensive data plans, and while we continue to believe that we need these data plans I’m saying to my carrier AT&T “thanks, but no thanks.” Over the summer I flew half way across the globe to Singapore for a nice and relaxing vacation. Due to the nature of international voice and data roaming you can imagine my unwillingness to pay the ridiculous fees associated with using my phone while abroad. Thus, I was stuck with only the public WiFi connections I could find. Before my trip I dreaded this fearing that I would become incredibly disconnected from my life on the Internet and moments before the trip wishing there was some way I could afford that $199 200MB international data roaming plan.

Thankfully the place I stayed had a free wireless access and allowed me to make free calls back to the U.S. using my Google Voice account. During the first day in the actual city my need for connectivity was starting to grow. I wanted to check my email, read the latest technology news, see the newest viral video and while the city was dotted with public wireless access the always on connectivity of cellular data just seemed far superior. I wanted to access the information and wanted to do it while I was moving. Not while sanding around in some coffee shop or McDonalds. After the first few days I started giving up on wireless access, it was becoming to difficult to keep a connection and it was never reliable for more than a few minutes.

At this point my opinions started to change. I couldn’t help but think that maybe cellular data is a waste of money. Do I really need to check my email, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and read the latest news every second of everyday? I started questioning all the reasons I had previously convinced myself to keep my expensive data plan. I began to wonder if I really needed cellular data after all.

On my return to the U.S. these questions began to magnify. I could make calls with my voice plan but I did not see any reason to continue paying for the data plan. I felt that if I needed to access the Internet WiFi access points where not that hard to come by. To be honest I’m still at a crossroads. I feel that for the ridiculous prices that AT&T and other cellular carriers charge for data that it worth it to seek out WiFi when Internet connectivity is in need. The “always on” feature is nice but it will never justify a $30/month charge. With all that has been said I’ve begun to seriously consider opting out of my data plan. Something few people know they can do.

Let me know your opinions. What do you think I should do?  Is cellular data worth the cost for you?  Why or why not?

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