How many gigs

Some time ago a friend gave me a used 4g smart type phone (android I believe), which hasn't been used in at least a year.  The battery seems to take and hold a charge and WiFi seems to work OK.  I think he pulled the sims card.  

I'd like to try using this type of thing, but have NO experience with it.  So. I'm looking for a trial period to decide if I want keep using these cursed things.  There are several plans that I'd like to try but, I don't know how many gigs I would need... among other questions.

How do I determine the right number so I don't sign up for the wrong amount?

Also, which is your fave LOW COST carrier for 1 guy?  

other issues can be addressed later.

Thanks for your time.

A lot depends on how out and about you are. I've been using about 2 per month since April when I began wfh and am mostly using my home wifi. My phone plan is unlimited with a slowdown at 10 that I never really noticed. 

The gigabyte amount is for data usage for internet, streaming, etc when you are away from wireless network.  It does not include phone calls or number of texts.  Those have separate limits in your plan (or can be unlimited).  So, if you are mainly planning on using this mobile phone for mobile phone calls (a radical concept!), the amount a data doesn't matter.  If you are going to check email, use a map service for directions, or something similar, that won't add up to much data usage either -- typically less than 1 gig per month.  If you are on Facetime, stream videos, or do a lot of internet surfing while you are away from your home wifi network, this can add to your data use significantly.  I have .5 GB per month (as in one half), and I have never gone over it.  I have the phone on my wireless network at home and at work, so data used there doesn't count into my total.  When I am using cellular data (away from my wifi network), I typically use Google Maps for directions occasionally, check and send email a lot, send photos sometimes, check various internet sites daily (mainly news/Maplewood Online), use a weather app to see forecasts and radar, and sometimes use phone apps for Amazon, Ebay, etc.  

here's an article on ultra-low cost carriers.

If you're using your phone mostly to make and receive calls, you don't need much for a data plan. The plans in the article start as low as 500mb a month, which would be more than enough for just making calls.

It's hard to estimate otherwise how much of a data plan you would need. It all depends on what you use the phone for.  My son and I manage to get by with sharing 1gb a month between us, but we're careful in our usage. We try not to stream video unless we're on wifi. We're able to use it for occasional browsing or reading the news, using google maps and other lightweight stuff.

And if the jargon is confusing, let us know.

ETA: cross-posted with Richard's good explainer above.

Oh - important

The first thing you should ask any carrier is whether your phone is supported. Depending on how old it is, it might not be.

(I think this is still true. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.)


Thanks so much for your input, it’s going to be quite helpful.  I had read that PC Mag article a while ago and decided to try the Mint service discussed.  Their 3 month trial program with 3 gigs sounds like a great deal, BUT their website is of NO value!  It’s $ale$, $ale$ and more $ale$ with no provision for ??? etc.

Last night I came across a new article at Thom’s guide(?) which says that t-Mobile has a 2 gig plan also for $15/mo.  Your comments have directed me to walk over. There and try them for a short time.

Thanks again

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