Usage Alerts Keep Consumer Cellular Customers On Top of Their Cell Phone Plan:
It sounds like a collection of 21st century urban myths.
A man streams a movie on his cell phone and is surprised—shocked, would be more accurate—to receive a bill for more than $60,000! Another man streams a football game while on a cruise and is charged nearly $30,000. Tickets on the fifty yard line at the Super Bowl would have been cheaper. An oil worker in the frozen fields of Canada uses his cell phone as a modem to stave off boredom and doesn’t exactly strike oil. Instead, he is stuck with a not-so-boring $80,000 cell phone bill for streaming movies.
Those are not myths but actual cell phone user horror stories from a few years ago. And apparently, the “stream scream” has struck again. I recently noticed this headline that appeared online: Canadian Man Hit With $11,000 Cellular Bill for Letting Kids Stream Movies.
All these cell phone users had two things in common: they were surprised by a huge phone bill and they were not Consumer Cellular customers.
Granted, cell phone service providers often warn their customers of the data costs associated with streaming or excessive downloading. But, we live in an age of information overload and it’s easy to overlook details.
We do more for our customers than offer warnings about streaming. As a free benefit, we automatically track their cell phone usage and notify them whenever it becomes excessive or approaches the upper limits of their plan. We call this service our Usage Alerts program and it’s been very popular with customers since its introduction nearly two years ago.
More recently, we beefed up our Connect! plans late last year, adding more minutes and data, without charging more, to every Consumer Cellular plan. Even though we gave our customers more data for the same price as before, we hope they’ll use that extra time and data wisely.
Here are two tips that can save you potentially thousands of dollars. First, do not use your cell phone to stream videos—at all. Second, if you must use your cell phone for such activity, connect to your home WiFi or a hotspot access point and use that connection to stream. Because streaming through a WiFi connection does not use your cellular network, your Connect! plan will not be charged.
I truly love the many things I can do with my cell phone. But watching a movie on a device the size of one’s palm is not my definition of a good movie experience. Movies, after all, are made for the Big Screen.