Verizon’s New Data Limits: How to Avoid Getting Screwed

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With the end of unlimited data on Verizon Wireless, new subscribers face overage charges if they get a little too crazy with the bandwidth. That means users have to watch their data consumption, otherwise they’ll face charges of $10 for every gigabyte over their limits.

To make this easier, Verizon plans to send lots of text messages to subscribers as they approach their limits. Users can expect messages as they reach 75 percent, 90 percent, 100 percent and 110 percent of their monthly data allotment. But that’s not the only way users can avoid getting milked for overage charges.

(MORE: Verizon Rules the Air By Killing Unlimited Data)

Here are a few other tips for keeping your data use in check:

Dial #DATA

Verizon subscribers can also dial #DATA to get an instant read on their monthly data consumption. Keep it in mind the next time you’re thinking of streaming a Netflix movie over the air.

Calculate ahead

Verizon offers a usage calculator to figure out how much data you’ll need in a given month, but keep in mind that it overestimates. Verizon claims that an average web page costs about 1.5 MB, but Google says an average web page is much smaller, at 320 KB. And according to the Associated Press, an hour of YouTube will eat up about 120 MB of data, whereas Verizon estimates 200 MB. Take Verizon’s calculator with a grain of salt — the carrier does, after all, want you to get a bigger, more expensive plan — but keep an eye on your monthly usage to see what works best.

Squish your bandwidth

Some third-party apps can actually reduce the amount of data used on basic tasks. Onavo, which is available for iPhone and is coming to Android, compresses incoming data from popular apps, such as maps and Twitter, promising data savings of up to 80 percent. (UPDATE: Onavo’s iPhone app only supports AT&T for now, but the company is working to add Verizon support soon. Onavo’s Android version will support AT&T and Verizon when it launches in a month or two.) You can also use Opera Mini as an alternative Web browser. Opera Mini renders pages on its own servers, and promises to reduce data consumption by 90 percent.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any other data-saving tips. Or just feel free to lament the slow, sad demise of unlimited smartphone data.

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