Data Management FAQs
1) What activities use my device's data allotment?
Internet browsing, social media and chatting, streaming video and music, using maps, sending and receiving e-mails, and other similar activities all consume data. Learn what contributes to data usage by using our Data Estimator Tool.
2) Do certain apps use more data than others?
Yes. For example, streaming High Definition (HD) video will use more data than sending an e-mail. In fact, video streaming accounts for almost half of the total data usage on U.S. Cellular's network.
10 minutes of streaming HD video can use between 100MB-200MB of data — if you do that every day for an entire month, it would amount to 3GB-6GB of data.
Streaming audio uses less data than video — if you stream 1 hour of music every day for a month, that will use about 2GB of data.
3) How can I be proactive in managing my data usage?
Register for My Account, where you can track your usage.
Most devices have "data usage" utilities (or apps) that allow customers to set thresholds, alarms or even block data use (refer to your device user guide on how to use these features).
Using Wi-Fi will help decrease your cellular data usage.
Close out apps that are not in use. Sometimes apps send and receive data in the background (refer to your device user guide on how to properly close your apps).
4) How will I know if I go over my data limit?
We'll send a Data Overage Protection Alert Message (via text or voice call) notifying you that you have reached 75% and 100% of your data plan limit.
5) What happens if I go over my data limit?
If you exceed your data limit on a current Shared Connect plans or Individual Plans, an additional usage charge will be applied. For example, if you're on a 6GB Shared Connect Plan and you've used all 6GB within your billing cycle but continue to use data, you will automatically be provided an additional 1GB for an additional usage charge. At the start of the next billing cycle, you will again have 6GB of data — the additional data provided during the previous billing cycle does not carry over.
For retired individual and shared plans, an additional usage charge will be applied if you exceed the data limit — charges vary per plan.
For current Prepaid plans your data speed will be reduced until the next billing cycle if you exceed your high-speed data allotment.
On retired Prepaid Plans, additional data usage charges will apply (varies by plan) and will be deducted from your account balance if you exceed your data allotment. If funds are not available in your account, your data usage will be restricted until funds are available. Additional high-speed data allotments can be purchased.
6) Does going over my data limit affect calls or text messaging?
No. Exceeding data limits does not affect calls or text messaging.
7) How can I avoid going over my data limit?
Connect to Wi-Fi networks when available. U.S. Cellular also provides several tools for managing data and avoiding overages:
Data Overage Protection — you'll receive alerts (via text or voice call) when you've reached 75% and 100% of your data plan limit.
Data Usage Controls ‐ Allocate and manage data usage limits for each device.
Device Apps — you can use on-device tools to help prevent overage. Most devices have data usage utilities (or apps) that can set thresholds, alarms or even block data use (refer to your device user guide on how to use these features).
Use our Data Estimator Tool to find the plan that best meets your needs.
If you haven't already, sign up for My Account. You can view online how much data you've used, and how much is remaining for your current billing cycle.
8) Why am I receiving a disclaimer message saying "Due to account changes, Data Overage Protection alerts will resume next cycle"?
This message is sent out because there were changes to your account which limit U.S. Cellular from sending you Data Overage Protection alerts during the current billing cycle. An example of such an account change would be a change to your data plan.
9) Why am I experiencing a reduction in data speed?
You will experience a reduction in data speed if you use more than 400MB of roaming data. Overage charges do not apply for exceeding 400MB of roaming data. If you're on a current Prepaid plan your data speed will be reduced until the next billing cycle if you exceed your high-speed data allotment.
10) If my data speed is reduced, when will I experience usual network speed again?
If your speed was reduced for exceeding the 400MB roaming data limit, you will be subject to reduced speed while roaming during that billing cycle — usual network speed will be restored on day 1 of the next billing cycle. Note: Reduced speed is only enforced while roaming. You will experience usual network speed when returning to a U.S. Cellular licensed area.
If your speed was reduced for exceeding your plan's data allotment, you will be subject to reduced speed during the current billing cycle — usual network speed will be restored on day 1 of the next billing cycle.
11) If my data speed is reduced will there be compensation or a credit to my bill?
No. You will still have data access and can still incur overage fees, so there is no compensation for reduced data speed.