Verizon Wireless didn't make many friends earlier this week when it confirmed that staring today, it will end unlimited data plans in favor of tiered options based on data usage.
Though current customers will be grandfathered in with unlimited data, the change may be more than a little confusing for new subscribers eager to trade up to their first smartphones. Forecasting how much data you need is difficult to do on your own, especially with no prior history. What's more, knowing how much data a certain app uses requires a bit of sleuthing on your part.
Thankfully, Verizon offers a number of tools to help put users into the right data add-on. All customers can dial #DATA on their handset to see their usage, while most Android and Blackberry users also can download the Data Usage Widget. And of course, seasoned Verizon customers are probably already familiar with the My Verizon Mobile service.
With tools like this it can't be all that scary, can it? Actually, you bet it is. I spent a few minutes playing around with a fourth tool in Verizon's Data Usage Calculator. Designed to get a feel for how quickly one might chew through bandwidth, it calculates how much data usage based on e-mails sent, Web sites visited, as well as music and video streaming.
I was shocked to learn that watching roughly one hour of high-resolution video per day will put me at 12GB of data. And that's without e-mails, Web browsing, or anything else. Even something as innocuous as letting your child watch YouTube videos could result in massive charges. … Read more