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Fidelity Corporate Blog: Post

Cellular Data vs. Wi-Fi: Money-Saving Secrets Your Mobile Phone Company Won’t Tell You

  • Posted by Blog Administrator - July 19, 2018
If you live in the United States, chances are pretty good that you’ve got a mobile phone. 

As we move from the internet era into today’s connected era, increased mobile adoption makes perfect sense. However, mobile carriers aren’t exactly helping their users make the most of their mobile device. 

Mobile carriers don’t sell broadband internet, they sell data. And they make a lot of money doing it while users get the short end of the stick. Most people don’t realize how often they’re using the internet every day or how many devices in their homes require an internet connection to run, so they don’t realize how easy it is to hit their data limit and rack up fees.

Mobile carriers want data to be your primary–if not sole–means of accessing the internet because it makes them money. So they’ll tell you all about it. But they won’t tell you that it’s actually neither the best nor the only option. And they definitely won’t tell you about Wi-Fi, how to use it, or how using Wi-Fi when it’s available will save you tons of money and preserve your data. 

So, we will. Let’s get to it.  

What is Data? 

We’ve written elsewhere on what data is exactly and how it travels over the internet, but the shorthand version is essentially this: data is electronic information that is sent from or to your device–in this case, mobile device. 

When are you using data? 

Put simply, always. 

But most people don’t realize this because they’re never told. 

When you sign up for a data plan with your mobile carrier, they’ll probably explain all the ways you’re going to use data on the front-end. 

“All I do is check my email and scroll through my Facebook feed” you’ll think, and 5GB of data for roughly $40 a month will feel like the deal of the century.

And if that were the full story, it would be. 

In reality, it would be incredibly difficult for anyone to consciously burn through that much data in a single month. So, how frustrating is it when you get an alert like this one? 

Fact is, your mobile phone is pretty much always using data behind your back. Seriously, we’re not just being coy, it’s called background data. 

  • Background data is data that’s being used behind the scenes by apps or even by your operating system. This means that if you’ve installed an app on your phone, and it updates itself or does any other kind of management, it’s on your dime. It also means that when you’re playing music on an app like Spotify, it’s running on background data. 

As opposed to...

  • Foreground data, which you deliberately use to stream music videos, scroll through Facebook, watch cat videos, send tweets–you know, the works. 

Okay, now that you know where all your beloved data is going, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath. We know it’s incredibly frustrating, but we’re here to help! 

The second thing you should do is let us do just that: help! 

The secret to optimizing your mobile phone for internet connection is simple: get Wi-Fi. 

What’s the difference between cellular data and Wi-Fi? 

Whereas cellular data connects to the internet via cell signal, Wi-Fi allows you to connect your mobile phone to the internet through an external router. 

Connecting to the internet without being connected to Wi-Fi means that you’re using a portion of your monthly data. When you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you aren’t using data at all. To use Wi-Fi, all you have to do is be within range of an active router–it’s that simple. 

Unlike data, there is no limit to how often or for how long you can connect to Wi-Fi, and some internet service providers even offer free Wi-Fi service with any internet service. 

When should you connect to Wi-Fi? 

You should connect to Wi-Fi pretty much whenever it’s possible, but here are a few instances wherein Wi-Fi is a much better alternative to using your cellular data: 

  • You’re streaming video

It eats up a lot of data–plain and simple. 

  • You’re streaming music 

Again, heavy on the data. Free on Wi-Fi! 

  • You’re working on something important, like school or work 

In most cases, Wi-Fi connection is far more reliable and works far more quickly than cellular data. 

  • You’re using Skype, Facetime 

This is a biggie. If you’re at home, it’s a little-known fact that you can connect to Wi-Fi to use Skype or Facetime. Without connecting to Wi-Fi, these features work off of your cellular data. 

It’s time to call it quits on your overpriced mobile data plan.

At Fidelity Communications, we believe that communication is a right, not a commodity. 

Check out our extensive broadband internet service options–each of which includes free Wi-Fi and affordable routers–at www.fidelitycommunications.com today! 

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