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Reduce data usage in Google Chrome

Reduce data usage in Google Chrome

Your Chrome browser on both Android and iOS includes a feature that can compress the data sent through your smartphone. Using Google’s servers, Chrome condenses images and other files to reduce your data usage by up to 50 percent!

Five reasons never to accept a “free” or cheap phone

PrintMaybe we should warn adults about the dangers of taking free phones from corporate entities like we warn kids about taking candy from strangers.

First, the painful truth: “free” smartphones are anything but. Deeply discounted smartphones purchased from a cell phone carrier may look good at first blush. Ultimately though, over the course of a two-year term, it’s a more expensive way to get a phone.

You’re much better buying your phone outright, either from a carrier that doesn’t “lock” phones (i.e., not one of the “big four” carriers in the US) or from a retail store. Ask specifically for unlocked devices and you’ll then have your choice of which carrier you choose to accept service from.

Let’s just reiterate that: Which carrier you choose to accept service from. With an unlocked phone, you’re in the power position, not the carrier.

Turn your computer into a wireless hotspot

The Ting model means paying for what you use as opposed to struggling to use up what you’re paying for, as with traditional mobile plans. On Ting, when you use less, you pay less. As a result, Ting customers come up with some creative ways to reduce their usage. The simplest way to save is to connect to Wi-Fi wherever it’s secure and available. If your office has a Wi-Fi connection available, just connect your smartphone to it and you’ll automatically use Wi-Fi (free) as opposed to mobile data that you pay for.

Not sure if the office has Wi-Fi and whether you’re able to connect your phone? Your local office IT guru will have that information, as well as the details you’ll need to connect.

wifi copyNo Wi-Fi at your office?

If your office doesn’t have a Wi-Fi hotspot you can connect to, don’t worry: By sharing your wired office Internet connection and broadcasting it as a secure Wi-Fi hotspot, you can turn your work computer into your own Wi-Fi access point.

Five ways to save on your mobile bill right now

Perhaps you saw through the ploy of the unlimited plan and instead opted to pay for what you use. Perhaps you settled for a set monthly mobile plan and only have a small amount of data to work with.

Whether either of the above cases fits you or whether you’re looking for something new, by taking a few simple steps, you can take control of how much data you can use. Ultimately, that means you’ll save money with the right mobile plan.

Some carriers even let you enter your current usage to see what you might save by switching.

1- Use Wi-Fi whenever possible

If your plan consists of a set amount of monthly usage, it pays to use it wisely. You don’t want to have to pay overage fees if you could have avoided going over your limit by simply using Wi-Fi.

There are some easy methods you can take to route calls, texts and data through a Wi-Fi connection, leaving your mobile plan unscathed. Google Hangouts, for example, lets you call any number in the United States or Canada using the internet instead of your mobile voice minutes. If you’re on Wi-Fi, that translates to completely free calling for as long as you want!

You can set this up through Google Voice to receive inbound calls and texts as well.

Interested in more data saving tips? We’ve got you covered!

2- Track your usage

The majority of smartphones offer the ability to track the amount of data you use, and you can set alerts and caps when you reach a certain threshold.

If you’re on a set mobile plan or with pay as you go, you can keep track of your daily, weekly, monthly and overall data usage inside the Android settings menu. It’s worth it to keep track to make sure you don’t get dinged with hefty overage fees. You can set an alert to warn you when you’re nearing your limit or even turn off mobile data when you’ve reached the cap.

Learn more in the corresponding Ting tip for Android. If you’re an iPhone user, we can also help with controlling which apps use cellular data.

Some carriers, like Ting, also offer control panel tools that let you restrict the number of minutes, messages and megabytes separately, which is useful for parents and those that want to take complete control.

Onavo Count (Android | iOS) is an app that tracks your overall daily, weekly and monthly data use. It lets you view the amount of data used by individual apps to help identify culprits that are wasting your mobile data and costing you money. You get an indication of when you stand in your current data cycle and can easily set up real time alerts for when you’re approaching your data limit.

3- Rethink unlimited (and don’t sign a contract)

If you’re currently in an unlimited plan, you might want to rethink this choice once your current contract or term ends. You’ll likely be able to find a better, cheaper option. Ultimately, unlimited just doesn’t make sense. Each month, you’re struggling to use up what you’ve paid for instead of just paying for what you used

By not signing a contract, the control is put in your hands, not the carriers. You’re free to choose which mobile carrier you accept service from, and if you have a poor experience, you’re free to bring your phone to a different company at any point in time. You also never have to pay off that dreaded early termination fee.

If your contract or term has expired and you’re satisfied with your current device, call your company to renegotiate your rate. You’ve finished paying off the subsidized device so you shouldn’t continue paying for it on your monthly bill.

4- Buy used

If you’re in the market for a new device, think used.

Many carriers allow you to bring your own device and activate on the network. You’ll often get a cheaper rate because you aren’t paying back the cost of a subsidized smartphone. Typically, this cost is buried into your monthly plan.

Purchasing a used smartphone from Glyde, eBay, Amazon or another online marketplace is an excellent way to get a top-notch device at a fraction of the cost of buying it new. If your current device isn’t compatible with the carrier you’re looking to sign up with, you can always look into selling your device and purchasing the compatible model.

5- Add a device

Combining your mobile plan with friends and family can save you big time in the long run.

Some carriers allow you to add another phone line to the same account for a low monthly fee. That means you don’t have to pay for an entirely new plan. If you purchased a used or inexpensive device, you can minimize the upfront cost as well.

A few mobile companies even allow you to share a pooled amount of minutes, messages and megabytes across all your phones. The more devices you have on an account, the less you pay per device. This becomes an excellent value for families and anyone else with multiple devices on one account.

Bonus: ETF buyout

Depending on your current rate, leaving your contract now might be worth it in the long run. You can run the numbers on your early termination fee to find out the exact moment you’ll save by jumping ship.

Back to school tech tips from the Ting community

The Ting community recently shared some of their favorite back to school tips, tricks, apps and life hacks with us on Facebook. We got so many great suggestions that we decided to share some of our favorites here on the Ting blog, along with adding in a few of our own. Also, we must just say that if we aren’t already Facebook friends, well, there’s no time like the present to rectify that.

Remember your schedule

Pull up your timetable or schedule, take a screenshot and make that screenshot your lock screen wallpaper. You can quickly figure out where you’re supposed to be just with a glance. Keep this lockscreen wallpaper in place until you have your school schedule down pat.

Ting customers spend less

Every time a major wireless carrier piles more gigabytes onto their “family plan” or lowers the price of their “starter plan,” we get the same questions and claims.

Does Ting charge less than AT&T for 10 GB?!
I can pay less for 2 GB on T-Mobile!

Forget how much money you are wasting if you go under that 10GB on AT&T in a given month. Forget what happens to you if you go over the 2GB on T-Mobile in a given month. Forget which company you would trust when you have a problem or which company you would most want to have over for dinner.

The simple answer is this. We have over 70,000 Ting customers now and they are spending less money on their cellphone bills than anybody spends on any of the major carriers by using less.

These are iPhone and Samsung Galaxy users. They are educated, employed and banked. They love email, Facebook, podcasts and Taylor Swift videos. They have just decided that they do not want to spend $100 a month on their family phone bill. In fact, they do not want to spend $45 for a single device. So they are using Wi-Fi whenever it is available. They are preloading or turning off videos in Facebook and Instagram. They are setting up alerts just to let them know when they’ve reached certain levels every month.

Here are the results in black and white for the month of July. These are mean bills and usage levels…

july bills

(If you are an analyst or investor poking around in my conversation with regular people here, this is not data we intend to disclose regularly going forward. Don’t start building models or tracking trends. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about how much folks need and how much they should spend on their cellphones. I thought it would be helpful and refreshing to reveal this one very specific snapshot.)

If you simply do not want to think about your mobile usage at all, then you should absolutely enjoy the luxury of not thinking about it. We all choose items in our life where we budget and items where we splurge. I have been bringing a sandwich to work for lunch and wearing the same pair of shoes every weekday for over three years. I also take family vacations in southern France.

If you want to spend less than $25 a month on your smartphone bill, ask over 70,000 Ting customers how they do it. They tend to be happy to share and their suggestions may be surprisingly easy to implement.