<b>Don’t push your mobile tariffs to the limit</b>

Don’t push your mobile tariffs to the limit

Anoop Verma

$img_titleYou open your mobile bill and stare in horror at the sky-high charges that you have notched up. Such experiences are only too common. All of us have suffered a “mobile bill shock” at some point of our life. With the new 3G plans that are on offer, it is possible for you to blow up your entire data allowance for the month with few hours of surfing or gaming. Here are some helpful tips to help you in dealing with your mobile phone services provider:

Check your plan

Mobile service providers are notorious for changing their tariff plans. It seems that they come up with new tariff plans every month. Another problem is that there are too many plans from which you have to choose. At times, the service providers come up with better deals than the plans that they offered when you initially signed up. So you should make it a point to keep track of the plans that are on offer, and if a better deal shows up, call the customer care immediately and have your plan updated.

Be aware of data plans

You would like to rave about how quickly the new iPhone, on 3G, will stream movies over cellular networks. But this might also lead to your blowing through a month’s data allotment. Whenever you log into to Facebook, Twitter, or even your email account, you are depleting your data allotment. The plan that you sign up for should take into account your current usage pattern. Even if you have signed up for an unlimited data contract, you might get stung with some extra charges. The unlimited data contracts come with fair usage policy, which means that there is an effective cap. If you go over this, your bill will mount quickly.

Mobile number portability (MNP)

You can also take advantage of the Mobile number portability (MNP) system to cut down your mobile tariffs. If the deal being offered by your service provider is not as good as what other service providers are providing, or if the service quality is lousy, you can opt for MNP. By regulation, customer can port-into another operator only if he/she has been with that operator for at least 90 days. MNP costs only Rupees 19 and you are guaranteed change within a week.

App to monitor your Android device

For those of us who tend to keep pushing the limits with our online activities, apps are necessary to help us monitor the data usage. If you are an Android user, you can go in for 3G Watchdog, an easy and versatile tool for managing your Mobile Internet - 4G/3G/Edge/GPRS. Once you have installed the app, you have to launch it and give it your daily, weekly, or monthly data limit settings. You can also set the date when your last billing cycle turned over. The app also allows you to exclude certain apps from counting against your data allotment, in case your cellular provider counts apps like Facebook or a certain e-mail applications to be free.

Monitor your Apple devices

iPhone and iPad  users can download DataMan. A creation of XVision, the DataMan does real-time tracking of your data usage to help you stay within your data plan. And with customisable threshold alerts, you’re warned before you hit your data cap. This app requires very little effort on the user’s part and yields extremely valuable information and alerts. For instance, after you have finished downloading a set of files from some learning resource, you might receive an alert saying that you had used such a percentage of your data allowance. You can also use these apps to simply restrict certain apps to WiFi only, and to block access to 3G once you data allowance is exhausted. 

Don’t lose your phone

Losing a smartphone is bad enough, but if the thief racks up huge bills, then you are worse off. Most service providers expect you to pay up even if it is the thief who has racked up the hefty bills. So you should take some basic steps like setting up a screen lock on your smartphone; also you should ensure that you don’t leave your mobile phone or SIM unguarded in places where someone can easily misuse them.

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