Music has never been as widely available as it is today. More people than ever before have the tools to play practically any song from their pocket, and this is great news for those who can’t stop listening to the stuff. Whether you like to live on old classics or prefer to keep your headphones blasting something new, having the right cell phone plan can be a huge benefit when you want to keep the listening going once you get outside. To help you to choose the right plan for you, this post will be exploring some of the key elements that go into this sort of decision, giving you the chance to make it for yourself without breaking the bank.
Contract vs. Rolling plan
Contracts have long been a popular way to get the minutes, texts, and data you need for your phone. Alongside this, they usually also come with a device, giving you the chance to get something much better than you would be able to afford without the contract. Of course, though, you probably don’t need a better phone to be able to listen to the music you like. Most relatively modern devices are able to produce excellent quality audio, supporting formats like FLAC for those who want to take their listening seriously.
This makes a rolling plan the best for those who want to listen to music on their phone, alongside making calls and texts from time to time.
What do you need to listen to music?
There are two key ways to listen to music on a modern smartphone; download and save the files you want to listen to or stream them from the web. Most people don’t like to download their songs, as this will mean having to pay for albums separately, while also limiting your listening options to the music you’ve added to your device. You don’t need much from your phone plan to do this, and any package should be fine.
Those who are streaming their music will benefit from extra flexibility from their listening experience, but will pay for this with data usage. Apps like Spotify, Play Music, and Prime Music all use very little bandwidth, but it’s still worth considering how much of your data they will use if you are using them all the time. Websites like YouTube can also be great for those who want to listen to music on the go, but this will use even more data, as you will be streaming videos which are far bigger.
How much data do you need to stream?
As those who are downloading their music beforehand won’t need to worry about data, the rest of this post is going to focus on those who want to listen to music over the web. This use case is becoming increasingly common, though very few people consider what they’re actually using when they open their favorite music apps.
Spotify is a very efficient music streaming service, and the app doesn’t require much data to work properly. In fact, this app can use as little as 150MB per hour when you’re streaming high quality music from it. Of course, this will mean that you need a fairly significant data plan to use Spotify, with extreme users finding that they can use as much as 4.5GB for their music listening pleasure. Other streaming services will offer fairly similar data usage, though this will be different if you’re watching videos.
A single 720p video will use around 870MB per hour. While this is quite small for videos, it means that those using this as their main listening tool will have to get a package with around 27GB, and this will be even higher if you want to watch the videos in 1080p. This can make your music listening a lot more expensive than it needs to be, and it can often be worth getting less data and paying for a music streaming service like Spotify.
What should music streamers look for in their mobile package?
Choosing the right plan for your phone can be tricky, and a lot of people end up spending more than they need to. To help you out with this, you can find an outline of the different features to look for in your packages below. It’s always worth considering your other phone usage, as this mostly applies to those who use their phone for listening to music above anything else.
A Good Amount Of Data: Having too much data is far better than being left without enough of the stuff. Thankfully, companies have moved away from old practices which involved charging people for extra data, rather than telling them when they have run out, but you still have to be careful to make sure that you have enough data to get by. Adding this later can cost a small fortune.
Rolling Data: Some months you will use all of your data, but others you will have some left over, and most people will want to make the most of this rather than wasting it. Companies like Lebara let you carry data over each month, giving you the chance to use everything before you have to pay for more. This is an excellent feature for those who want to get the most out of the money they spend.
No Fair-Use Policies: Phone providers have long been issuing fair use policies with their data plans. This can leave people getting less than they’ve paid for, while also limiting their experience in the future. It’s always worth avoiding companies which have strict policies like this, though it’s not worth being worried about those which don’t want you to use your data for mobile hotspots.
With all of this in mind, you should be perfectly equipped to start searching for the best mobile plan to go with your listening habits. A lot of people struggle with choosing products like this, finding it difficult to know what they need to do when they are buying data, minutes, and texts for their phone.
Photograph by Photo Mix Company
Originally publisher as Finding the right phone plan when you’re addicted to music
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