WYFF - Make Sure Your Smartphone Doesn't Bite You  

WYFF, my local TV station, did a segment about using data on a smartphone. Major carriers no longer offer unlimited data plans to new customers. So how do you keep from exceeding your monthly data cap if you don't have unlimited data? WYFF offered the solution of using wifi whenever you will be using a lot of data. That is good advice, and fine when you're home or at a coffee shop, but what about the times when you're out and about and don't have access to wifi? How do you monitor your usage then?

I have a solution - monitoring data (3G/Edge/GPRS) use with - 3G Watchdog for Android.

The basic version is free and I found it to be enough for my needs. I've only had it installed about three months, but I love it! Previously, I would really limit my data usage because I had no idea what my usage was. I was paranoid about going over my limit and paying a big fee. Now I can use it more freely because I know what has been used and how much is left!

The widget is installed on my home screen so I can constantly monitor where I'm at in relation to my quota. 3G Watchdog alerts me when I am at 75% of my usage for the month. (The 75% can be changed to whatever the user wishes.)

Last month, I was out of town for a couple weeks with limited wifi access and using Google Maps Navigation for driving directions. Before, I was afraid to use it in case it used a lot of data. Turns out, it doesn't! (Tip - if you can, get the driving directions while on wifi BEFORE you head out for your destination. You'll use less data that way.)

I'm currently at 83.6% of my monthly usage with 7 days left in my billing cycle. 3G Watchdog says if I keep my usage constant, I'll be at 106.4% of my quota by then. But now that I'm home, I'm fairly certain I can keep that under 100% by limiting my non-essential use away from wifi.

3G Watchdog keeps track of all sorts of statistics so you can see your daily usage history for the month and monthly totals back through several months.

Thanks, 3G Watchdog! Now I won't get bit by my smartphone!


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