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Data charging is the amount charged to a mobile phone account for data access, which in most cases refers to Internet-based data. Data charging can follow either of two models:
With the rise of smartphones, tablet PCs and the subsequent demand for Web-based services, carriers have been trying to compete with each other with more attractive data charging schemes.
With the pay-as-you-use data charging scheme, subscribers are charged based on either the total amount of hours used or the total amount of data downloaded. The latter is based on the size of the Web page, in kilobytes or megabytes. Thus, pages with only text are less expensive than pages with images.
With the pre-set charging scheme, subscribers are given a maximum download limit per month. For example, T-Mobile’s data plan features 10 GB (Gigabytes) of Web access per month. Users can access the Internet as often as they desire until hitting the 10 GB limit. However, there are no overage charges for exceeding the limit. But, the user's download speed is curtailed until the next billing cycle.
Pay-as-you-use is the cheaper data charging scheme for users only occasionally going online. However, for users frequently updating Facebook, sending tweets, browsing the Web, watching YouTube and so on, this option may be more expensive.