What is Cellular Data?

So, you’re paying your cell phone bill and frankly, can’t believe the balance. How did you go 5GB over your monthly allowance? Yikes. That overage fee! In the back of your mind, you realize that cellular data is connected to using the Internet via your cell phone, but you are really unsure how. Let’s help you understand what cellular data is and what activities use it up and help you avoid overage fees in the future.

Cellular data defined

A cell phone connects to the Internet in one of two ways: either by using a WiFi network or by using the cellular data network offered by your wireless provider. Following are the specifics:

WiFi uses radio frequencies to wirelessly transmit the Internet to your devices.

Range: Limited.

Fee: Free. Because your home WiFi uses radio frequencies and not the towers your cellular provider uses, you can use it as much as you want and never face overage charges.

Cellular data uses the same network provided by the cell towers that allow you to make cell phone calls.

Range: As long as you are within your provider’s coverage area, your range is almost unlimited.

Fee: With cellular data, you pay for a monthly cellular data allowance so, if you exceed that allowance you’re charged an overage fee. If you think you might exceed your allowance, it’s wise to monitor your usage over the course of the month.

What activities use cellular data?

The short answer: Any activity you do on your cell phone that requires access to the Internet uses cellular data if you are not connected to a WiFi network.

That’s it in a nutshell. No WiFi? You’re using your allowance of cellular data.

The more detailed answer: Some activities, like streaming video or making a FaceTime video call, use more cellular data than others. Activities that do not use up as much data include: checking and sending text-based emails, browsing articles on the web, and using turn-by-turn navigation. Activities that do not use any data at all include: making phone calls and sending text messages.

How to manage your cellular data via your cellular provider

If you receive a paper bill from your provider, the data usage information is most likely on the second or third page of your invoice. If your provider doesn’t include it, you can call or go online to request a more detailed bill. You can also do the following:

Log into your account from your computer and check the Usage tab.

Download your provider’s app and check the Usage tab.

Call your provider from your wireless phone:

AT&T: Dial *3282#

T-Mobile: Dial #web#

Verizon: Dial #DATA

How to manage your cellular data via settings


If you’re always on top of how much data you’re using, there’s less opportunity to be surprised by overages. Once or twice a month, check in and see how you’re doing. To see how much cellular data you’ve used on your iPhone, do the following:

Go to Settings. Tap Cellular then scroll to Cellular Data.


With Android, you can avoid surprises by limiting your data to a certain amount. Here’s how:

Open Settings. Go to Network & Internet, then Data Usage, and Data Warning & Limit. Here you can set the amount of data you want to use for the month.

Smart ways to save on data:

Turn on data saver or low data mode

When you’re not connected to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network, you’re using your data. To save on using it, you can pause certain functions like background data refresh and data syncs by turning on the Data Saver if you use an Android phone, or Low Data Mode if you use an iPhone. It is easy to do and you’ll be glad you learned how to do it!

On iPhone, select your plan and do the following:

LTE/4G Cellular

Go to Settings. Tap Cellular

Tap Cellular Data Options, then turn on Low Data Mode. 

5G Cellular

Go to Settings. Tap Cellular.

Tap Cellular Data Options, select Data Mode, then turn on Low Data Mode.

Dual SIM

Go to Settings. Tap Cellular or Mobile Data.

Tap one of your numbers.

Turn on Low Data Mode.

On Android:

Open Settings.

Go to SIM card and Mobile Data tab.

Tap Data Usage option.

Go to Data Saving option.

Turn on Data Saving.

Stop your apps from “refreshing” themselves

If you’re not on Wi-Fi and you don’t turn on your data saver or low data mode, your apps will keep working in the background collecting information and refreshing themselves while using your data. To prevent this, do the following:

On iPhone:

Go to Settings. Tap general. Tap Background App Refresh. Here, you can choose to have this feature off, available only when you’re on Wi-Fi, or available when you’re on Wi-Fi and cellular data. (Not recommended when you’re trying to use less data!) You can also toggle this on or off for each individual app on your phone.

On Android:

Open Settings. Tap Data Usage. Here you’ll be able to see which apps are using the most data. Decide which app or apps you’d like to restrict, and tap on it.

When you’re home, be on your Wi-Fi

If you’re reading this on your phone in your home, it’s most likely that you are connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network. But if you’re not sure, or you’re sure you are not connected to it, turn it on now. Right now. Here’s how:

  • Go into Settings. You’ll see options like Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular, etc. Click on Wi-Fi. Then select the name of your network. When you’re done, tap Settings again and return to its main menu. If Cellular or Bluetooth are on, turn them off. Now that you are on your home’s Wi-Fi network, you don’t need them and having them on will drain the battery in your phone.

Connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network can significantly reduce the amount of cellular data you use. And once you’ve connected to it as described above, whenever you’re home your device will recognize your Wi-Fi network and connect to it.


Cellular Data: Best Practices

The best way to stop gong over your data limit is to be sure your phone is always connected to WiFi. On WiFi, there’s no need to worry about overage charges and, because smart phones remember networks they’ve been connected to previously, you don’t need to remember passwords because your phone will automatically connect to those networks when you are in range. For example, you connected to your best friend’s WiFi when visiting last year. When you return for another visit, your phone will automatically recognize and connect to your friend’s WiFi network.

Take your data management one step further: switch cell phone carriers and save

At just $25 a line, H2O Wireless gives you great coverage, more than enough data, and unlimited international talk and text (plus a $5 international talk credit), so you can keep in touch with family and friends around the globe and they can keep in touch with you!

Enjoy Multi-Line Savings  

Connect your friends and family to get Multi-Line savings with 2 lines for $50 or 4 lines for $100. Each line comes with 6 GB of LTE data so you can stream, listen, and do what you do at $25 per line.

Here’s Exactly What Every Line Gets...

  • 6 GB of LTE Data
  • Unlimited Data, Talk & Text
  • Unlimited International Talk to 70 Countries
  • Unlimited International Text
  • $5 International Talk Credit

Here’s Exactly What You Don’t Get…

  • Contracts
  • Hassles
  • Headaches!

With H2O Wireless, you get the best cell phone coverage for less and the best unlimited plans – not to mention the most cost-effective, realistically priced unlimited plans – anywhere.

Or, choose our 12 month plan for just $8.33 a month!

With H2O Wireless’ 12 Month Plan, you purchase service once and you’re done for the year. No worrying about missing a payment or tracking the expense. You simply make a one-time payment of $100 using your credit or debit card, and that’s it. Our 12 Month Plan breaks down to crazy low $8.33 a month, and gives you an entire year of unlimited talk and text, as well as 1GB of high-speed data every month. There are no other payments to make or additional steps to take. Plus there’s no contract and no hidden fees.

A word about “unlimited data”

With so many cellular phone businesses vying for your money, it’s difficult to tell which you can trust. The overpriced services clamber, “Pick me!” with promises of low cost, unlimited data plans. But do you really need an unlimited amount of data? Will you use all of that data? Maybe. But if you don’t, guess what? You still have to pay for it.

If you’re on a $70 a month plan which gives you up to 23GB of data it means you’re paying $3.04 per GB of data. And if you’re using just 4GB a month (which is what most people typically use), you’re paying $57.40 per month for data you’re not using. Ouch.   

The truth is…

Most people use just 2-5GB of data per billing cycle, and that’s because you’d have to spend every waking moment, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week online to exceed that amount. The average consumer doesn’t do that, and that’s why the average consumer doesn’t need a $50, $60 or $70 a month unlimited plan!

At H2O Wireless, we don’t think you should pay for data you don’t need and aren’t going to use.

That’s why we’re proud to offer you plans starting as low as $18 a month (with auto pay) for unlimited talk and text and 2GB of data.

Need more data one month? Simply go into your account portal and add more. When next month rolls around, if you need less data, you can go right back into your portal and reduce it. Simply log onto PureTalk.com, click on My Account, and select Manage My Data. Make your changes, save them, and log out. It’s that simple.

Plus, H2O Wireless Connects You to the World

Each H2O Wireless Monthly Unlimited Plan includes unlimited international talk to 70 Countries (including China and Mexico), unlimited text to any country in the world, and up to $5 international talk credit depending on the plan you select. 

Purchase these features whenever you need:

International Talk

You can purchase International Talk for your plan for $5 or $10. Simply log into your account to make this purchase.

International Roaming

You can purchase International Roaming for your plan. This can be used for talk minutes, text, or MMS.

5G / 4G Data

You can purchase additional high speed data for your plan. Get 2GB for $10 or 5GB for $20.

Hotspot Data

Share your cellular data via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB using laptops, tablets, and more by purchasing Hotspot Data for your plan. Get 2GB for $10, 5GB for $20, or 10GB for $30.

More reasons to love H2O Wireless: Refer a Friend

When you join H2O Wireless, you can take advantage of our Refer a Friend (RAF) referral program. It enables you to share the H2O love and lower your bill! Share the H2O love with enough friends, and you might not even have a bill.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Spread the Word

Get your unique referral link, then send it to friends and family.

Step 2: Sign Them Up

Help your friend select an H2O Wireless Plan.

Step 3: Get Rewarded

Once your friend activates their H2O service, you each get rewarded with $20 in RAF rewards points.


What is the Refer a Friend Program?

Refer a Friend is the H2O® Wireless referral program in which you and a friend get $20 of H2O points for each activated referral.

When are H2O points applied to my account?

When the person referred activates their H2O Wireless service your rewards points will be applied. Please note: For Port-Ins, points will be received within 1-5 business days.

Do I get referral points if I just tell a friend about H2O?

No. They need to use your referral link.

How many people can I refer?

You can refer up to 10 people per month, which is a total of 120 referrals per year, for thousands of dollars’ worth of reward points. So many rewards points they might pay for your H2O service!

More reasons to love H2O Wireless: Bring Your Own Phone

Have a phone you love? H2O Wireless makes it easy to bring it with you. Simply join H2O Wireless and, at checkout, choose eSIM. Like a physical SIM card, but without the 3-5 day wait for a physical card to arrive, eSIM enables you to use your new service much faster. In fact, you can activate your service right after checking out. Of course, before you select eSIM, make sure your phone is eSIM compatible by reviewing the list below.

Is my phone eSIM compatible?

eSIM compatible phone models include:

  • iPhone XS series
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11 series
  • iPhone SE 2nd gen
  • iPhone 12 series

With H2O Wireless it’s easy to stay connected to your family, friends, work, your favorite shows, podcasts, news outlets – your whole world – for less. That’s what makes us refreshingly. different. wireless.

See for yourself today!

What our customers are saying…

 “I have been using H2O prepaid service for more than 3 years. I get a good connection in the mid-west and other places I have visited in the US, with no dropped calls. I only recharge when my balance is low and never had any issue with their customer service. I have contacted their customer service on few occasions, and they’ve been most helpful.”

“I have had H2O monthly unlimited for a few years now. I use WIFI and Data interchangeably, and don't even think about it. My data is unlimited, and even if I stream videos or the news to my phone any time I want, I have never had it slow down.”

“My phone is an unlocked, international version Samsung. I pay $28 a month at H2O and get a service that is literally unlimited in every way. A special bonus with this plan, is that I get international texting - which I was unable to achieve with T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T.”




Posted 2 months ago