Cutting the cord currently gets a lot of attention, and rightly so because it’s a clear trend affecting businesses that provide subscription services including Internet access, landline phone service and cable/satellite TV.
People typically cut the cord to save money – why pay for a landline at home when you own a smartphone – but sometimes the desire for a simpler lifestyle drives cord cutters. If you move frequently, it doesn’t make sense to get an Internet Service Provider and/or a cable TV subscription only to turn those services off after a short time.
Fortunately technology makes cord cutting easy and often allows some budget savings in the process.
As pointed out, dropping a landline phone is the most obvious cord cutting example. And there are a lot of options available that let you view ala carte TV programming and movies without a cable/satellite subscription. To learn more about those options, watch the video at the top of this page.
In this post I’ll discuss how to eliminate a separate monthly ISP bill. I’m not suggesting you cut yourself off from the Internet. But you may be able to change the way you connect to the Internet and save some money.
Most smartphones nowadays can create Wifi hotspot that devices can use as an access point to the Internet. Usually this option is in Settings, is called Mobile Hotspot or something similar, and can be toggled On and Off. The best news is, a lot of times your phone’s 4G LTE network is faster than your home Wifi service.
But before you ditch your ISP, be sure using your phone as a hotspot will work for your situation. To do this analysis you first need to know how much data you use, and review your data usage patterns. If you typically use data by browsing the Internet, sending emails and streaming a Netflix movie occasionaly, you could be the perfect use case for the phone-as-hotspot solution.
On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time playing online games this scenario is probably not for you.
Not sure how much data you use? That’s easy to see on your phone. Go into Settings and view Data Usage to see how much data you used in past 30 days, as well as the specific apps that consumed that data. To check your monthly Wifi data use, you can install a bandwidth monitor on your computer. Many are free and lots of different monitors are available for download.
Or another option to see your monthly Wifi data usage is to open your router software on your computer or tablet and view your data usage there. Viewing your router traffic will allow you to see data used by all your different Wifi enabled devices. Nearly all routers nowadays have a data monitor. If you’re not sure how to access it, refer to the User Manual or use your favorite search engine to search ‘data monitor’ plus the brand and model number of your router.
Add your phone data use and your Wifi use to sum your total data usage for the month.
Now it’s time to visit your cell carrier’s website and look for a data plan that will accommodate your total data use. You may well need to upgrade your current smartphone plan. But remember if you’re dropping your ISP you can put that monthly savings toward paying for an plan upgrade with more available data – and hopefully have a few extra bucks in your pocket every month.
If you find a plan that acommodates your total data use and fits your budget, then you can go for it – cut the cord and drop your ISP.
To quickly recap:
1. Determine how much data you use monthly on your phone.
2. Determine how much data you use monthly on your Wifi network.
3. Add those figures to sum your total monthly data usage.
4. Find a data plan with your carrier that will accommodate your total data use.
5. If that plan fits your budget – remember to consider the monthly savings from dropping your ISP – then upgrade your plan and cut the cord!