Advantages of Home Internet over Exclusive Mobile Internet Use
Gone are the days when Internet access was limited only to the home. These days, people use their smartphones for Internet access all the time, from finding the closest store to checking Facebook. But what about people who use their mobile devices exclusively to access Internet?
Using new data from the Pew Research Center, the Washington Post reports that “[t]he share of Americans who access broadband only from mobile devices has reached 10 percent.” According to the data, these Internet users tend to be young, have never gone to college and earn less than $30,000 a year.A
This isn’t all that surprising. Most people have a smartphone as their go-to accessory, which acts as “an addition to [their]home WiFi for when [they’re] out and about.”A
But for this smaller group of Americans, a smartphone is their only means of accessing the Internet.
Is this the best choice? It’s true that when you’re away from home, a smartphone can help you access information online using cellular 3G or 4G data. However, for everyday Internet use, a smartphone connection poses several obstacles.
Home Internet vs. Mobile Internet
Just a few years ago, accessing a site on a smartphone meant visiting a site optimized for desktop that had simply been scaled down for a smaller screen. Websites didn’t offer user-friendly experiences to mobile web users. Designers and developers have recently started creating sites optimized for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Despite the more user-friendly experience, “mobile-optimized Web sites aren’t exactly the most functional. For detail-oriented tasks like filling out forms and editing documents, a full-size computer is still your ideal machine.”A
Both government agencies and private businesses are moving access to their services and products online. Whether you’re looking to file your taxes or purchase tickets to see your favorite band in concert, you can do it online. But if you don’t have access to a fixed broadband connection, it may be difficult to find the products and services you need.A
Even though a fixed broadband connection is an additional expense, those relying on their smartphones for Internet connection may end up paying high costs each month for their Internet use. “Cellular Internet uses the cell phone signal to carry data and connect the supported device directly to the Internet,” according to CNET.B And accessing data on your cellphone can be pricey.
These signals are either 3G or 4G and are generally fast enough to be considered broadband. This is especially true of a 4G signal, which can reach average residential broadband speeds (5-20 Mbps).B However, most 3G and 4G providers offer “very low monthly data caps (about 5 GB or less) and customers have to pay more than the fixed monthly cost when they go over the allowance.”B
Going over your data limit is surprisingly easy to do, according to an expert at Lifehacker. If you want to perform tasks like streaming Netflix or working from home, you can quickly surpass your data limit after a couple episodes or a few hours working online.C
Fixed broadband providers offer either no service cap or a much higher cap that will allow you to do more online, without having to pay expensive overage fees.C
If you are a frequent Internet user relying solely on your smartphone, you can end up paying a lot of money for data. Smartphones are great for Internet access on-the-go, but they are a costly option for everyday home Internet access. For reliable, affordable Internet, a home Internet provider is still your best bet.