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Alarming study shows how much money wasted in US on unused mobile data

After reading this, you might quickly switch from an unlimited data plan to a capped plan.

Published onOctober 18, 2019

A photo of Datally showing YouTube's data usage

A few years ago, when T-Mobile brought back the idea of unlimited data plans, consumers were overjoyed. Finally, we could consume as much 4G data as we liked without worrying about overage fees!

However, a new study released by used electronics retailer It’s Worth More shows that we maybe should stick with capped plans.

To conduct the study, It’s Worth More surveyed more than 1,000 adults in the United States. To be eligible for the study, the adults needed to know how much data they typically use in a month, how much money they spend on their wireless bill each month, and what their data plan was like.

The basic gist of the study is pretty plain: adults in the US spend a lot more money each year on their data plans than they actually need to.

Data Plans Average Usage

Let’s start with those who have capped data plans, i.e., plans where the user pays for a certain amount of high-speed data each month. According to the study, the average consumer only uses about three-quarters of the data they actually pay for each month. The average person, according to the survey, spends about $61.45 per month for this data but leaves 26.5% of it — or $16.56 — on the table each month. That means the average person loses nearly $200 each year on data that never gets touched.

Things get even more wasteful when examining unlimited data plans. According to It’s Worth More, 56% of those folks on an unlimited plan use less than 10GB of data each month. In fact, the average person within that 56% only uses 5.1GB each month, which is less than most capped plans.

Unlimited Data Plans Average Usage

That 56% bracket spends about $83.82 per month for that unlimited plan. If you take the previously-mentioned average price for a capped plan — $61.45 per month — you can extrapolate that over half of Americans on an unlimited data plan could save a whopping $268.44 each year just by switching back to a capped plan.

However, 44% of those on unlimited plans do use more than 10GB of data each month, so not everyone should drop their unlimited plan. It’s worth investigating though to truly ensure you are spending the right amount of cash for your personal habits.

Click here to read the full study.

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