When I signed up for my contract in November 2014, 500mb of data seemed fine. Through 2015 I was on Maternity Leave so I had WiFi most of every day. Then I went back to work… In February a phone ‘glitch’ meant I used up all my data because Google Play was downloading all and every app update on 4G. Argh. EE to the rescue though – they gave me an extra 500mb for free. Then last Thursday my phone alerted me to the fact I had only 100mb for 9 days. No big drama, that was enough if I was sensible.
Then on Friday ‘The Haircut’ happened…
It was H’s first proper haircut and she started bawling her eyes out from the moment she sat in the chair. I chucked on Peppa on my phone on Netflix. I didn’t think. 5 minutes later I was down to 21mb*. I turned off mobile data (to save what I had left) and rang EE to bump up my price plan. But there was nothing they could do until my next billing date (23 April); I’d already used up any ‘favours’ so I’d have to cope. I’ve often been without Internet access before when on holiday. But I’ve never been without it in ‘normal’ commuting-to-work life. So how would I cope?
Day 1 – Saturday: At home for the most part so have WiFi. Go walking with the Girl over nap time and then stay in town for a snack and shopping before walking home. Out for about 2.5hrs in all. Remind Sam that he needs to text or ring, not WhatsApp. Would typically have got annoyed not having it to hand when having my cuppa but it reminds me to just enjoy the quiet time with H and my phone doesn’t leave my bag!
Day 2 – Sunday: Another day mainly at home so with WiFi. We go out sofa shopping around lunch time and stop for a sandwich. I go to check something online when we are in the car and can’t but otherwise am completely focused on our family activities.
Day 3 – Monday: One of my non-working days so, again, at home. A friend and her son come over and we go out to the park. We spend the whole time chatting and playing with the little people so don’t bother with my phone. All in all, no impact today.
Day 4 – Tuesday: My first commute with no personal data. I usually check my emails and social media on the train so it is a little frustrating. I check twitter briefly on my work phone’s mobile browser but it is a bit tedious so give up and read my book. In the office I remember I connect to work WiFi so during the day I have all my usual functionality. Thumbs up! On the way home I do use my work phone to look something up, but after that I read articles on Pocket that it has saved offline and draft a blog post in offline mode. No data is an irritation but not the end of the world.
Day 5 – Wednesday: I don’t even bother checking anything on my work phone today. I just get my book out and enjoy a good read for the whole journey. At work I obviously have WiFi again. Then on the train home I read my Stylist mag which I picked up on the way in to the office that morning.
Day 6 – Thursday: On the commute in I just go straight for my book and read most of the way there apart from a quick chat with Sam after he’s done drop-off. I really enjoy immersing myself in my reading for a bit and the journey almost ends too quickly. The day flies by but when I get to Kings Cross to get the train home there are DELAYS! As always the information on the boards is not that helpful so I reach for my phone to look at whether I can change at Finsbury Park when I remember I can’t do that. Luckily I have a bit of battery left on my work phone so use that and then later use Twitter on the web browser to send some messages to @gnrailuk about the terrible information we were being given…for all the difference it doesn’t make! After dinner I pop out for a drink with my friend at a nearby pub whilst I was in the middle of a WhatsApp chat with my other friend which I then couldn’t finish until I got home at 10pm.
Day 7 – Friday: My other non-working day and one where we are house-bound for the day because of a friend and her son coming for lunch (a nice thing) and then waiting in for a furniture delivery (a tedious thing but with a nice outcome). So it really doesn’t really bother me at all that I am lacking in data. But then, not long before H’s bedtime, Sam rings because he has a puncture and is trapped in the middle of nowhere. I load up the route in Waze and then just keep all fingers and toes crossed that I don’t need to do anything once I am on the road because I really don’t know where I was going. Fortunately I find him issue free (although there is a bit of stress) but lacking data was just an extra worry.
The outcome!: So I survived and because I can get WiFi at home and at work, where I spend the largest proportions of my time, the impact was minimal. Admittedly, it wasn’t a true test because I did have my work phone. Whilst I didn’t use it much for ‘trivial’ things, I did use it. However, I found it more of a necessity on Thursday when there were delays. These days there is often more information online, especially on Twitter, than you get at the station. I also was able to do some rapid route re-planning. If I didn’t have data longer term, this is certainly where I would be most frustrated.
On a superficial level (I am well aware this is a very First World Problem) it also meant I got behind in my article discovery and reading. I don’t get much time to browse Twitter and read blogs when I am home so the train is my opportunity to indulge a few days a week. I enjoyed my book but I did miss my social media time! This morning I turned mobile data back on and not only did I have data, but my new allowance. I’ll be enjoying plenty of media reading on the train next week!
*Ironically I forgot about the 21mb and never used it. That would have probably been enough on my train drama day and for some Twittering. Oh well!