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Alert: Avoiding data overages

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The best way to avoid using data is to simply put your phone down unless you're locked into Wi-Fi. (Source: 3TV) The best way to avoid using data is to simply put your phone down unless you're locked into Wi-Fi. (Source: 3TV)

These days just about everywhere you look, people can't seem to put down their smartphones or mobile devices. 

"We're all using more apps. We're streaming more videos. We're listing to streaming music. We're doing all these things," Ken Colburn said

He is a technology expert who runs Data Doctors here in the Valley.  

He says depending on which wireless provider you use, some consumers may not have to complain at all about going over their data limit. For instance, Colburn says Androids can keep track of it for consumers automatically.

"Take a look at your phones. Really simple on most phones whether you use a third-party app, Androids devices have it built into the settings. You can actually set the phone to say when I get to this data limit give me a warning," Colburn said.

If you want to avoid going over your data plan, it's recommended you go into your phone and set a data allowance. That way you'll get an alert when you're getting close.

Of course, the best way to avoid using data is to simply put your phone down unless you're locked into Wi-Fi. As long as you're on Wi-Fi, you're using no data.

"Anytime there's Wi-Fi that's the easiest way to avoid these data overages," Colburn said.

According to published reports, the FCC has received a spike in the number of complaints from consumers who say their bill jumped due to going over their data. Verizon Wireless has more than 112 million subscribers and says, "We are always keeping an eye on the situation."

As for AT&T, they've ended data overages altogether, just to pacify consumers. Still, Colburn says most consumers won't have to worry too much longer about exceeding their plans because companies are finding new ways to nip the problem altogether.

"The good news most of the cellular services have gotten away from charging data overages, and they go to a throttling model which means when you get your data limit for what you're paying for you can still use it and won't get charged. It’s just going to slow that access down," Colburn said.

Verizon provided 3 On Your Side the following statement and information regarding data usage:

Thanks so much for reaching out. We think the conversation on how to manage data usage is an important one and we appreciate the opportunity to respond.

We take each customer complaint seriously, whether they reach out to us directly, we learn about it through the media, or it’s forwarded to us by a government agency.  And our customer care team won’t quit until we resolve those issues.  Worth noting that we haven’t found any widespread issues, but we are always keeping an eye on the situation.

We’re redoubling our efforts to communicate tools available to customers, including the new My Verizon app, so customers can manage their wireless experience in the palm of their hand.  In fact, we’ve recently posted a couple of blogs to help our customers understand their data use better. You can find them below. Feel free to attribute any of the information to me.

How to manage your wireless data and avoid overages - Verizon
The proliferation of new data-hungry apps, auto-play videos on social channels and the availability of super-fast 4G LTE networks have had a direct impact on the amount of data consumers use. Between April 2013 and April 2016, our smartphone customers’ average data use grew from 1 GB of data per month to 2.7 GB per month, and that’s only going to increase as consumers continue to rely on mobile.

Digging deeper on data use - Verizon
112 million Americans put their trust in us to deliver a great wireless experience, and we take that responsibility seriously.  We only succeed when we delight our customers every day.  Your trust is very important to us, and that means we must make sure our bills are right every time, and that you have great tools to manage your data use. It also means admitting when we’ve made a mistake, and ensuring that you’re not ever surprised by your bill.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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