How do I Define Megabyte Usage For Cell Phones?

by Michael RyanUpdated September 28, 2017
Smartphone image by Dominator from Fotolia.com

Megabyte usage for cell phones refers to the amount of data used by a cell phone in a given billing cycle. Cell phone data usage is important because many cellular carriers do not offer truly unlimited data services, meaning that users exceeding a set megabyte limit in a billing period are assessed overuse charges. As a result, it is important to monitor cell phone data usage and convert total usage to megabytes if your cell phone providers reports this information using a different standard.

Log in to the online account manager for your wireless company, or locate your current cell phone bill.

Locate the data usage section on your bill. Depending on your carrier, the section may be titled "Data Usage," "3G Usage," "EDGE Usage," Packet Data" or similar.

Determine the standard used by your wireless carrier for measuring data usage. Carriers often report usage in kilobytes while setting data limits in megabytes, which can confuse consumers.

Convert the data usage to megabytes to gauge your total usage relative to the megabyte usage allowed on your cell phone plan. When calculating data usage, keep the following conversions in mind:

1,024 kilobytes = 1 megabyte 1,024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte

Therefore, if your cell phone bill states you have used 250,443 kilobytes of data, that amount converts to 244.57 megabytes of data. If you had a 250-megabyte data plan, usage of 250,443 kilobytes could cause you to worry about paying overage charges. However, as there are 1,024 kilobytes in each megabyte, usage is just under 250 megabytes.

Compare the megabyte usage on your cell phone bill to the total data use allowed on your plan to determine if you should stop using data features or if you should change your wireless plan's megabyte data limit.

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