Imagine you’re on vacation abroad, blithely consuming your supposedly “UNLIMITED” data – using all your favorite travel apps, when suddenly… everything slows to a crawl – it’s taking forever to pull up a map, or peruse Parisian restaurant reviews.If you’re a business traveler, your data slows to the point that you can’t work effectively. Oh no! – you’ve just hit the (speed) limit of your “unlimited” data – and now you’re stuck at 2G! You may have to pay hefty overage charges if you want to buy additional high-speed data.
It’s hard to resist the lure of “UNLIMITED”, but …PROCEED WITH CAUTION, especially true if you’re signing up for an unlimited international data plan. Avoid costly roaming charges or unexpected penalties; read the fine print and ask questions! Typically, these plans allow unlimited access to the network itself, but the connection speeds may vary.
So, how can you avoid coming up short?
Ask these 3 questions before signing up for that “unlimited” plan:
Will I get consistent access to high-speed data with my unlimited plan?
Find out how the carrier defines “unlimited” for the data plan you’re considering. Ask whether the unlimited plan actually means unlimited high-speed LTE coverage, or if the connection will slow to 2G connectivity after you’ve consumed a certain amount. More often than not, unlimited plans will cap LTE (high speed) data usage, leaving you with dial-up speeds for the rest of your trip. If you think you may exceed the cap, ask if there’s an upgrade you can purchase.
If the plan is capped, will I receive alerts?
Make sure the carrier will send you threshold alerts while using data abroad. Otherwise you could get hit with overage charges, or find your data unexpectedly slowed to 2G speeds. If you know your plan is capped at 800 MBs of LTE, you can customize your apps ahead of time to work with that quantity, and purchase an upgrade when the time is right.
Customize Your Apps on iOS
To customize your apps on iOS, simply go into Settings > Cellular and scroll down to the section where each app is listed individually. From there, toggle each one on or off.
Customize Your Apps on Android
Customizing your apps on Android is slightly different. Instead, you will have to go into each individually downloaded app on your phone, and turn off Cellular Data from within the app. You can however, turn off background data from your device settings – which is especially important for apps that send multiple push notifications throughout the day. To do this, go to into Settings > Data Usage and toggle Restrict App Background Data for each app.
Learn more about how to manage your mobile data in our blog post here.
Will my data be throttled?
Throttling is the intentional slowing of network speeds by your carrier. If the data plan is indeed throttled, make sure you know what the threshold is, and determine whether or not it will affect you. If the carrier does not send alerts to warn that you’re about to hit your limit, make sure you set your own notifications.
There are a couple of apps that can help with this. DataMan Next for iPhone will track your data on a per day basis, while My Data Manager for Android will track your data, per day, per app. Both allow you to customize and set an overall limit, and when you’re getting close to that amount a notification will sound.
Other Connectivity Options To Keep In Mind
If you find that your carrier’s so called “unlimited” plan for international connectivity isn’t really going to suit your needs, or you’re worried that details buried in the fine print may mean unintended fees or penalties, consider short-term international data plans. Select plans that give you the data you need, for just the time you need it.
No Contracts, No Commitments and Consistently Fast Data
GigSky data plans require no contracts, no commitments and you know your costs upfront. GigSky data speeds are never throttled and provide coverage in over 100 countries and territories. Did you know GigSky is integrated with iOS on iPad with Apple SIM? You can select GigSky data plans right from your device. GigSky SIM and App works in most all other unlocked devices. If your phone is locked, you can use a GigSky SIM in a mini router to connect your phone or other devices. For more information visit www.gigsky.com or purchase a GigSky SIM from Amazon