Surprise: My iPhone Data Use Is Less Than I Thought : All Tech Considered Surprise: iPhone Data Use Is Less Than I Thought
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Surprise: My iPhone Data Use Is Less Than I Thought

According to the cellular data usage chart I found in my billing reports, my iPhone data usage falls far below the new $25 2-Gigabyte 'Pro Data' option the company will start offering Monday. Screengrab/ hide caption

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On Wednesday, I woke up to panic on Twitter as iPhone users wailed about AT&T ending unlimited data plans for the iPhone. (Including the new, fourth-generation iPhone that Steve Jobs is expected to introduce on Monday.)

We wondered if it was Time Warner Cable's metered Internet proposal all over again and whether we were all in store for a huge jump in our monthly wireless bills.

Turns out AT&T cushioned the blow for its heaviest Internet users. Current iPhone, iPad and other AT&T smart phone users can keep their $30-a-month unlimited data plan (even if they upgrade to a new iPhone) or opt for cheaper plans at $15 a month for 200 MB of data or $25 for 2 Gigabytes of data. Fees would apply if you went over that limit.

I was convinced that I'd need to stay on "Unlimited." I use my iPhone constantly. It's in my hands more often than beer, dinner utensils or both my children combined.

But according to a chart on my billing statement at AT&T (above), I've never even come close to hitting 1 GB of data usage a month, let alone 2. Color me surprised.

While my data use is trending upward, I do most of my heavy downloading (podcasts, TV shows, apps) at home on my Wi-Fi network. This may change if Netflix or DirecTV begin offering streaming video over 3G for the iPhone or if the new iPhone does indeed feature video chat on apps like Skype. But for the time being, I'm not too worried about excess data usage, even if I opt for the more limited $25 plan.

I may need to for one unfortunate reason: in order to use the iPhone's new tethering feature (sharing the phone's Internet connection with laptops and other devices), AT&T is requiring users to abandon the unlimited plan and pay $20 for the tethering service.

Have you taken a peek at your monthly data usage? Let us know where yours falls in the comments.