A recent survey of adults who use their cell phones to access the Internet found that 40 percent of Latinos and half of African Americans do the majority of their web surfing on cell phones. The rate for whites was 25 percent.
While smart phones often make it easier to use the internet, data caps on mobile phone plans have become standard practice and can limit when and how people get online, according to this recent MasWired.com article.
Even though using the Internet on a smart phone makes certain tasks difficult (like filling out applications), Latinos, African Americans, and young people are more likely to use their cell phone as the main source of Internet access over a traditional computer set-up, the article states.
But smart phone internet usage uses up data. And cell phone companies are more frequently setting limits- or caps -on that data.
The measurements used for tracking data usage vary between phone companies, making it difficult for customers to gauge how much they will use. For example, AT&T estimates that streaming video requires 300 MB per hour, while Verizon says it is 350 MB.
Miscalculating usage can result in overage fees. Fees can add up to $10 per gigabyte with AT&T and Verizon or with slower service in the case of T-Mobile, according to the article.
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