Family Technology Costs Are Rising
In the old days, kids got a phone at the ripe old age of 15. They attached a cheap prepaid plan, got a pat on the bum and went about their business.
If you’ve got kids, you’ll know, the world is not like that any more. The proportion of your bills which are paid towards financing technology for your family never seems to end. In a recent survey spending on digital devices like laptops and phones is now 56% of all costs incurred for children. Compare that to 17% – the amount spent on school uniforms. Often sold under the auspices of ‘educational needs’, technology and technology for kids is now a huge component of the family outflow – something which is close to crippling for lower income families.
The cost of mobile services – largely data these days, is increasing, too. Already at 5% of family expenditure – an amount roughly equivalent to the amount spent on utility bills, this too, is set to rise. Luckily, there are some simple ways you can keep this element of your costs, down.
Where is all the data going ?
50% of all internet traffic comes from mobile phones and on those, the consumption of video content is responsible for more than half of all data used. The proportion that video makes up is rising too. A recent survey showed that, while Netflix on mobile devices is still relatively rare – with only 7% of people watching it regularly, the proportion of people who are doing it is creeping up.
After video, it’s streaming audio, web browsing and social media which uses the bulk of data allowances.
Above source : Ericsson – Mobile Data Report 2017
So, what can you do about it?
There are a number of simple tricks you can employ to get the most our of your technology at the lowest cost.
- Awareness :Simple awareness of where the data you’re using is going is the first step. Add to that the self service app from your phone company and you can now track how you’re spending your money. Knowledge of what is being used and when is the key to reducing the drain on the cellular side of your use.Then it’s simple: Use wifi when you can.
- Buy data in a pack before you need it : The best time to buy data in a plan is before you need it, not piecemeal towards the end of the month when you’ve run out. Towards the end of the billing period, you can easily pay 5-10 times as much for an extra GB as if you’d bought a plan which included it. Similarly, stay on top of changes to phone plan inclusions. Phone companies provide increments to the data included in phone plans and / or the price drops which occur every few months.
- Shared data plans : At the moment, families treat phone plans like bedrooms. Each child is allocated their own. In the future, that may well change – we could start sharing data like a family shares the fridge. Shared data plans are offered by most of the larger phone companies these days, around the world. Parents are likely not using their full data entitlement. Kids will be blowing their bills and paying overage – the expensive sort mentioned above. At the same time, parents may well not use their entire allowance at all. Shared plans let you even out this usage and keep overall costs down.
- Fairer plans: With competition in the market for mobile plans of all sorts based around the number of Gb provided at a price, some phone companies have started to differentiate in useful ways. In the USA, unlimited data plans are common – although uptake is likely not quite at the levels you might think: Only 10% of Americans use an unlimited data plan. Plans which have the ability to ‘roll-over’ data from one month to the next or, better yet, let you keep the data you buy forever, until you want to use it, are increasingly available.
About Author : Neil Aitken Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you. You can check his cheap prepaid plan here.