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How much data do you need?

Updated: July 7, 2011 2:33PM

Are you a wireless data glutton or a nibbler?

Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, is getting rid of its unlimited data plan for new smartphone customers starting Thursday, shifting instead to limited data plans that give users between 2 and 10 gigabytes of data each month.

Later this week, new Verizon Wireless smartphone users will have these choices for monthly data usage:

†$30 for 2 gigabytes.

†$50 for 5 gigabytes.

†$80 for 10 gigabytes.

Customers who use more than their allotment will be charged $10 more for each additional gigabyte.

The current unlimited plan costs existing users $30 per month. And while it may sound enticing to have unlimited data usage, 95 percent of Verizon Wireless subscribers use less than 2 gigabytes per month.

AT&T’s “standard” plan charges $25 per month for 2 gigabytes.

T-Mobile charges $30 for 5 gigabytes a month, or $10 more than its 2-gigabyte plan.

Verizon Wireless customers who already have an unlimited data plan can keep it, whether or not they have a long-term contract with the company.

Here’s some help determining which limited data plan will work for you, even if you don’t know how many megabytes are in a gigabyte.

2 gigabytes per month:

This will be enough for most people. AT&T said last year that the plan would satisfy 98 percent of its smartphone users. That figure is undoubtedly lower today. If you like to stream online music or videoconference for hours on end, or watch Netflix movies, you’ll blow past it.

5 gigabytes per month:

This would be for those who spend a lot of time on their phones. Laptop cards generally come with this data limit.

10 gigabytes per month:

For super serious users.

What if you don’t want to bother with any of this?

Sprint Nextel Corp. still offers unlimited data.

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