My So-Called No-Data Lifestyle

Confession time: I have a fancy smartphone, but I’ve been living a no-data lifestyle for more than a year now.

It started when Xfinity (Comcast) introduced a new mobile service for its Internet subscribers. With Xfinity Mobile, you can pay by the Gig. And it’s only $12 for up to 1 GB of data per month.

The price was right. But I was much more interested in their option to pay nothing if you keep data your usage under 100 MB. I’d only pay the required taxes and fees.

Challenge accepted. I signed up and began my NDL in November 2018.

First, I turned off cellular data for all the apps on my phone. Then, I connected to WiFi wherever I went. I went about my business and still enjoyed my fancy phone.

No data for you.

Living without data probably sounds inconvenient. And I’ll admit that sometimes it was. But there’s almost always WiFi available, especially with Xfinity Hotspots all over. So it wasn’t as big a sacrifice as you might think.

You could even say I was living the dream. I felt such pride and joy when I saw my teeny-tiny bill each month. I paid adorable amounts like $2.48, $2.76, and $2.87.

Living the dream with bills like this one.

Occasionally, life would catch me with my pants down. I’d have to use some data and stumble over the 100 MB limit. It didn’t take much. On those unfortunate months, Xfinity would gouge me with a bill for around $14.68.

But now these greedy monsters at Xfinity are pulling a classic bait and switch maneuver. They sent me an email today titled “Changes coming to your mobile plan.” Uh-oh.

The email explained the benefits of their new “second generation” plan. As a customer on their original plan, they’d be moving me to the new plan in February. At the end of the email, they broke the bad news: “By the Gig no longer includes an allowance of 100 MB of shared data. In other words, you’ll pay a minimum of $12/mo per account for cellular data for your By the Gig lines.”

So that will end my so-called NDL. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Daniel Tiger with my daughter, it’s this: When something seems bad, turn it around, and find something good.

Right now, “something good” seems to be a shiny and new mobile service called Visible, owned by my old pal Verizon.

Visible is heavily marketed to younger consumers like… me… Right? OK, I’m not exactly their target market. But if I play their little game (Party Pay), I’ll get unlimited data for $25 per month. That price includes taxes and fees. Plus, I’ll get a $100 gift card as a signup bonus!

Hello data, my old friend.

But first, let’s review the options:

  • Option 1: Stay with Xfinity Mobile, $14.68 for 1 GB data
  • Option 2: Switch to Visible, $25 for Unlimited data

Is unlimited data worth $10.32 per month? Well, having no data has been fun. And having unlimited data sounds like fun too. But having 1 GB of data, and trying not to use more, does not sound like fun.

That’s why I’m announcing right here, right now, that I’ll be switching to Visible as my mobile carrier in the new year.

2020 is coming. Is it time for you to switch your carrier too?

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