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Posted at 04:37 PM ET, 07/07/2011

How much data are we using, really?

Verizon stopped offering its unlimited data plans starting Thursday, rolling out new, tiered plans based on data use. Verizon has said that users already on unlimited data plans will be grandfathered in, and users will still be able to upgrade their devices, as reported in The Post’s Ideas@Innovations blog.

The news plans offer 2GB of data for $30 a month, 5GB for $50 and 10 GB for $80, and Verizon has said it will text users when they hit certain data use benchmarks to prevent bill shock.

Verizon has said that 95 percent of its users never hit a monthly 2GB mark. But how much data do normal, everyday activities use?

Using the data calculators for the two biggest mobile companies, Verizon and AT&T, here’s a breakdown of how much data you use with everyday activities.

A quick note: You’ll notice that the calculators are pretty different. Verizon’s metrics are based on its testing with Google’s Android system, whereas AT&T uses general guidelines for file sizes — a text e-mail is about 20KB, a minute of streaming video from YouTube is 2MB — to determine its totals.

E-mail: Probably the most important feature of a smartphone is the ability to check your e-mail on the go. If you send and receive about 100 e-mails a day, Verizon’s calculator estimates that would use about .03 GB of data a month. On AT&T, the same amount of e-mails registers at .06 GB of data a month.

What eats up your data with e-mail is downloading attachments. AT&T’s calculator — which lets users figure out the data use for photo and other attachments — indicates that even 50 e-mails a day with attachments adds up to about half a GB alone.

Web: The ability to hit the Web wherever you are is another important feature for smartphone users. If you view, say, 50 Web pages on your phone a day, AT&T estimates that adds up to about a quarter of 1 GB — or an eighth of a 2GB plan. But on Verizon’s calculator, all that surfing adds up to 2.2 GB a month.

Photos/social media: In an ever-more-connected world, people are using their phones to upload pictures and push content to their social networks. How does that add up?

AT&T and Verizon have different ways of measuring this, but Verizon says that uploading 10 pictures a day takes up about 300 MB (.29 GB) a month. On the AT&T calculator, 10 social media posts with pictures adds up to .14 GB a month.

Streaming video: This is what will eat into your data plan quickly. Watching only 30 minutes of streaming video a day will bring you 1.71 GB for the month, according to AT&T. Plug the same data into Verizon’s data calculator, and low-res video seems to eat up 2.94 GB a month, while high-res video takes you over 5GB a month.

For more ideas of just how much data you could be using, check out our gallery on just how much 2GB is worth:

How much is 2GB?

GALLERY: How much is 2GB worth? Click the image above to view the gallery.

What does your data usage look like?

Related stories:

Post Tech:Verizon releases data management tools

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Verizon rolls out Droid 3

By  |  04:37 PM ET, 07/07/2011

Tags:  Mobile

 
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