What if I told you that you’ve been wasting money every single month on part of your cell phone bill? This week I break down some technology basics to show you how you may have been duped into overpaying for service on your mobile devices. This one small change can be an easy hack to reduce your cell phone bill today.
Know The Terms
First it’s important to understand some basic internet terms and functions. There are two different sources of internet your mobile devices (smartphones & tablets) may be able to access: WiFi & 4G.
WiFi is the internet you access from home or where this is free WiFi (ex. Starbucks). Here’s how that works. Look at the graphic below and then read the definitions.
A modem is simply a device that takes the internet signal coming from the provider (through the wall jack) and translates it into something your computer or mobile device can understand.
A router is a device that liberates the translated signal from the modem so you don’t have to plug only device at a time directly into the modem. A router well… routes the signal to multiple devices both by having usually 4 wired outs on the back and these days also wirelessly thorough.. you guessed it WiFi. So it’s the router that actually broadcasts the WiFi signal.
You may have also heard of a gateway which simply means it is one device with both a modem and a router in it.
4G on the other hand is a wireless data signal you pick up from a cell phone tower. Cell phone signal is used for calls as well but 4G (or 3G) is the data portion of that cell phone signal. It’s the only way you can access the internet from a mobile device when not near a WiFi signal.
Evaluate Your Usage
So where am I going with this? Well, in order to use both signals you need to have two different antennae, one for WiFi and one for 4G. All smartphones have both because they are always with us in our pockets wherever we go. Tablets on the other hand are not this case. They are usually sold in two different models, WiFi only and WiFi + Cellular (i.e. 4G).
Not only could you buy the WiFi only model which is cheaper but even if you own the WiFi + Cellular model there is still a big opportunity to save.
Kiss Waste Goodbye
It’s not uncommon for people to get their tablets through a promotion from the carrier. Because of that especially, people often get sold into putting their tablet on the cell phone plan so they can use the “Cellular” antenna and use the tablet on the go. That’s fine, but have you ever stopped to ask if you really need it?
Most people are not using their tablets away from a WiFi signal and even if they are most people can make their phone a hotspot and connect their tablet to the internet that way. So here’s what I recommend.
- Look at your bill at the cell phone “number” that represents your tablet and evaluate how much data it is really using.
- When you find that it’s really negligible (and I think you will) remove those tablets from your plan.
You can continue to use the tablet and just adjust your habits minimally to handle those situations where you need internet and are away from WiFi. Again, options are waiting until near WiFi or creating a hotspot with your phone.
If you remove these tablets you’ll save $12/mth on your bill for each tablet. $10/mth for access fee and $2 in taxes and such. So, what are you waiting for? Go get saving!
Question: How many tablets do you have that you’ve been overpaying for on your bill? Share in the comments below!