Tech Notes

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The Cellular Internet Trap

Over the past few months, there has been a strong and very deceptive marketing campaign by cellular phone providers to convince people to ‘cut the cord' and go totally wireless for their home internet solution.   The cellular providers are very good at creating deceptive marketing tactics and, once again, they have gotten many people thinking about their ‘solution'.  As is the case with anything, the devil is in the details, and in this case what the cellular providers aren't mentioning is that customers are limited to the bandwidth cap they sign up for and are charged heavily for any and all overages. This is no inexpensive matter (if it was, they would probably be more inclined to be forthright about it.) In fact, if they do their job “right”, you won't find out about your oversight until after you have signed a two-year contract. At South Central Communications, we understand everyone's desire to limit their household expenses…we just want you to make sure that if you ‘cut the cord' to save costs that you are actually going to. Moreover, once you do a little research on your data usage and the likely overage charges, we are confident that you will find that our Internet and phone packages are very reasonably priced.

The Devil is in the Details When it Comes to Cellular Data Plans…

Consideration #1…the Speed:

When it comes to cellular provider Internet speeds the best case scenario is if you're in a region capable of 4G speeds, which isn't available in most rural areas. In the case of 4G, your top speed will be around 12 Mbps.  Unfortunately, most areas can only get 3G, which tops out at 4 Mbps.  At South Central Communications our Fiberlink Internet packages have speeds from as low as 5 Mbps all the way up to 50 Mbps.  Needless to say, we are confident that our speeds stack up quite nicely against our cellular competition.

Consideration #2…The Real Cost of cellular data plans:

When it comes to signing up for a cellular data plan, the biggest question (and by biggest I mean potentially most expensive question) to ask is “What is the data limitation and what does it cost per gigabyte if I go over it?” This is not something that they readily volunteer and when they do mention the amount of data that you are provided, they lead you to believe that what they provide is more than enough. That couldn't be further from the truth.

We have reviewed the major cellular provider plans and we have found that when you purchase a mobile internet plan, you choose a data level anywhere from 2 GB to as much as 50 GB per month.  For about $50 per month, you can get between 5 and 8 GB of monthly data usage through a cellular provider.  Then you will be charged an additional $10-$50 (pricing varies by provider) per GB you use over your limit.

When you talk to the cellular provider, they'll paint you a pretty picture and tell you that 8 GB of data per month is more than enough for the average user, but when you do a reality check, you'll find that the average household uses much more than just 8 GB per month.  In fact, the national average data usage is 26.2 GB per month!

If you don't know how much bandwidth you use, we offer free tools to allow you to measure your South Central monthly bandwidth usage.

In one South Central case study, a family of four, consisting of two adults and two elementary aged children, used approximately 80 GB of data in one month.  They describe themselves as light to moderate Internet users.  They use their internet to browse online, read the news, and occasionally stream videos from Netflix. As a sidebar, did you know, on average, an HD streaming video on Netflix uses 2.8 GB per hour?  That means, on an 8 GB bandwidth limit, you could only watch 2 hours and 51 minutes of Netflix per month before you started going over your bandwidth limit.

In another customer case study, the customer shockingly determined that they had used 687 GB in one month.  In their defense, they knew they were avid internet users with approximately 20 internet ready devices (TV, computers, tablets, phones, game consoles) and use the web for surfing, gaming, and lots of video streaming. 

Let's do some quick calculations based on an 8 GB data package at $50 per month and $15 per GB cost on bandwidth overages:

Bandwidth Usage

GBs over Limit

Actual Monthly Bill

8 GB

0

$50

11.2 GB (4 hours of Netflix)

3.2

$98

26.2 GB (National Average)

18.2

$323

80 GB

72

$1,130

687 GB

679

$10,235

I know it is hard to believe these numbers…but this is exactly why the cellular providers don't tell you this information. Heck, you would never sign up for it if they did. What they do tell you is that you have to sign a two-year contract in order to receive their "deal". What a load of garbage!

At South Central Communications, we don't put limits on bandwidth.  Whether you use 5 GB or 500 GB, you will always pay the same low monthly price. And now, if you sign up for a 15 Mbps or higher Internet plan, you will receive a discount on your phone service that will bring it all the way down to $1.50 per month!

I hope you will find this information and our free bandwidth measurement and calculator tools useful. Additionally, if you would like to track your bandwidth usage please call our Internet Support department at 888-826-4211, option 2, then option 2 again, so we can set it up for you. Once you have determined your bandwidth usage you can then plug that number into our online bandwidth calculator and see how much your cellular internet plan would actually cost each month.

Don't fall in to the cellular data trap, test your usage before you sign that two-year contract and see how much you'll save by sticking with us.