I've been thinking about getting a pre-owned Samsung Fascinate from Verizon for $40. I can't afford a $30/month unlimited data plan, but I was considering the $15/month 150MB data plan.

I'm planning on using it primarily as a phone/PMP, without heavy use of internet-related features. Most of my data usage will probably come from these things:

  • Downloading apps
  • Occassionally checking weather, maps, etc.
  • Texting through Google Voice. I plan all cancelling my texting plan and moving all my texting activities to Google Voice. I only use around ~300 texts (sent and received) per month.

Is it reasonable to expect these activities to remain within 150MB/month? On a related note, I am usually on my university's campus, which has wi-fi. Can I use the wi-fi network to avoid suffering data charges?

Update: Verizon ran a promotion this weekend. For upgrading to a smartphone with unlimited data plan, you got a $10/month credit for the next 24 months. So the $30/unlimited data plan effectively becomes $20/unlimited, and I went with that instead of the $15/150MB plan.

  • 1
    It looks like you might need to make a decision on this soon; Verizon may be doing away with the $15 opotion - engadget.com/2011/01/24/…
    – shambleh
    Jan 24, 2011 at 21:05
  • Just an FYI, Google Voice does SMS but no MMS so not photo or video texts. It also can't receive texts from email gateways, so no texts from websites and services that send you text updates through and email gateway.
    – Matt
    Jan 24, 2011 at 21:32
  • Keep in mind that you can shut off data when you aren't using it, so that background processes don't use it. Jan 24, 2011 at 21:52
  • @shambleh: That's good to know! If I get it before they change the price, will I get to keep the $15 option after they get rid of it?
    – Matthew
    Jan 24, 2011 at 23:52
  • @Matthew I can't be totally sure, but if you are in a contract I believe that they will at least honor pricing throughout the contract period. Check with a rep first before committing to anything, of course.
    – shambleh
    Jan 25, 2011 at 1:52

3 Answers 3


Yes. I agree with everything that Bryan has said but want to add...

You can use an app like Phone Usage that helps you monitor your network traffic. The Pro version ($2.35) also allows you to set data limits that will send you a notification if you go over. So you could set it to 125 MB and you'd know when you are getting close and you can throttle down your usage. Verizon has a 30 day return policy (although I think they are changing it to 15 days) so you can monitor your traffic and if you find that you are using waaay too much you can always cancel and go back to what ever you had before.

Another useful app (if you've rooted your device) if DroidWall which lets you set which apps can access your 3G connection. This would be useful if you identify that an app that requires background sync and uses a lot of data. It would also be good if you are getting close to you 150 MB limit and want to lock down your data usage.

Finally, many apps let you set a wifi only rule. For example BeyondPod has a setting in the apps that says "Only download podcasts when on Wifi" but if you really want to take control of your phone you can download Tasker and set an almost unlimited set of rules for how your phone operates.


Using wifi == not using your data plan. So that will help reduce data usage from your provider.

So long as you are not streaming (music/video/youtube/etc) or downloading large amounts of data (podcasts, for example) then you should be fine. Or at least save those activities for when you are on wifi.

Downloading apps: each app can be anywhere from 100kb to 10mb+ in size. Save these for your wifi unless it is an update you really need then and there.

Weather/maps: shouldn't be too heavy of data. Same with Google voice.

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    NetCounter says I've used 170 MB of data in the past month over cellular, and more than 2 GB over wifi. And I haven't tried to limit anything.
    – TREE
    Jan 24, 2011 at 22:16
  • I tend to use around 100-200Mb a month while checking email, weather, Foursquare & maps on 3G.
    – Alastair
    Jan 25, 2011 at 9:37

Get a prepaid and leave your phone with no credit most of the time (if you hunt around, you might be able to find operators that will keep your number for a year after expiry). With no credit, you can still receive calls. Carry a recharge card in your wallet (or in a Notes app in the phone) just in case you really need to make an urgent phone call.

If you're almost always in a Wifi covered area (in home and in school/work), then you can do all your messaging using Google Voice, IM, VoIP, etc. You should not need to download apps over data connection, download them over Wifi. Check your weather before you leave, and if you want to use Google Maps, cache it in the phone before you leave a Wifi-covered area (alternatively, find a mapping software that uses offline maps).

With this, your phone can live off electricity almost exclusively.

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