How Much Is Data Worth?

It’s been almost two years since my old cell phone took a dive (or a swim… in the toilet), and I took the plunge with Republic Wireless. I can honestly say it’s been a pretty great couple of years; Aside from the very rare minor issues that pop up with all cell phones, everything has been seamless.

I chose Republic’s $10 monthly plan, which includes unlimited 3G talk and text, and WiFi only data. Including taxes and fees, I paid $12.54 per month. The plan was almost perfect for me. After all, I connect to WiFi at home and work, and can even connect to my parent’s WiFi when I visit them each Sunday. Many restaurants and retailers even offer free WiFi. I’m covered almost everywhere I go!

Almost.

And that almost was the only drawback to the plan. What about when I went on vacation? Or was driving somewhere and got lost? There always seemed to be those times throughout the month when I found myself commenting “I don’t have WiFi here”. Sure, I could have upgraded to the unlimited 3G talk, text and data plan. But at $25 per month, I’d be more than doubling my monthly cell phone bill. Did I use enough data to make upgrading worth it? I could even upgrade my plan temporarily, for things like vacations, and then switch back to the cheaper plan at a prorated rate. But would I remember to switch back? It seemed like such a hassle!

Apparently, Republic Wireless has been reading my mind: This Summer, they introduced a new pricing structure that allowed users to buy data in .5GB increments. The new plans start with the $10 basic unlimited text, talk and WiFi plan. Then, you can buy 4G data for $7.50 for every .5GB. You can buy a set amount of data automatically each month. If you run out of data, you can make a one time purchase of more data. And, making the plan even better? They’ll refund you the cost of any data you don’t use.

The idea of buying only the data I actually need was incredibly appealing to me, especially since I’m not a big data user. After all, most of my data is used when I’m on WiFi, which would still be part of the $10 base plan. After thinking it over for a month or so, I took the plunge and switched my plan to the new structure. Since I didn’t think I’d use much data, I only added .5GB to the base plan, making it $17.50 per month ($20.04 with taxes and fees).

An extra $7.50 per month isn’t exactly nothing. I wanted to get the most out of my data, so I made sure to adjust my settings to prevent many of my Apps from running in the background on cell data. And then? I used my phone as if I had no limits. I checked Facebook as I sat in waiting rooms. I got turn by turn directions after getting lost on a few occasions surrounding my sister’s wedding. I looked up more useless trivia than any person has a right to.

I was really curious to see how much data I would actually use, and how the data refund would work. My billing period officially closed on September 22. In the past month I used 228.4MB of the 500MB (.5GB) of data I purchased. Less than half! Republic gave me a generous $4.15 refund on my bill, meaning October’s bill will only cost me $15.89.

For $15.89, I have unlimited talk, text, WiFi data, and more than enough 4G data for how I use my phone. I no longer feel like I’m making compromises to save money. I have everything I need (and more!), and am still saving a ton of money compared to what I paid with traditional carriers. Granted, my data use will vary from month to month, so my bill may not always be so low. But I know the cap is $20.04, unless I intentionally purchase more data. I’m comfortable with that.

  • Cindy W.

This is not an affiliate or sponsored article. I am not being paid for my opinion. These views are strictly my own; YMMV.

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