If you had to pay any overage fees to your carrier this year, you'll hopefully find some solace in the fact that you weren't alone. In fact, the amount of money the big carriers make from overages is staggering: $600 million.
This information comes from a recent study conducted by NerdWallet, which doesn't just analyze the amount of money people are paying for their phone usage, but whether or not opting for a "protection plan" of sorts is even worth it.
Both AT&T and Verizon offer plans that don't charge overages, but instead throttles the speed of the data after the limit has been reached. According to this study, because those plans have other buried surcharges and other fees, the end gain for the consumer might be nil. It's beginning to look like regardless of how you use your phone, you run a risk of getting ripped-off -- or at least feeling ripped-off.
It's important to note that both AT&T and Verizon have begun offering these new overage-targeting plans as a direct result of unlimited plans from their competitors, Sprint and T-Mobile. Often, even if a plan with one of those companies results in overages, the pain isn't going to be felt quite as badly as it will with AT&T or Verizon.
An example of how a protection plan might not help much
Ultimately, one interesting finding was revealed: if you happen to have a legacy plan with either carrier, chances are very likely that you'll be better off sticking with it, and simply paying the occasional overage fee (or work harder to avoid it). The same thing could be said to any mobile customer, for that matter. Carriers are notorious for charging more than you'd expect, so it wouldn't hurt to pay closer attention to your monthly bills to make sure you're not getting the short end of the stick.