01/24/2012 12:39 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now? Doesn't Matter -- Just Email Me!

Media and the American landscape changes continually with technology. As a result, the way we get our information will change accordingly. We're basically becoming a "three screen Information society." A "Three Screen Information Society" is comprised of:

1) a smart-phone,
2) tablet PC and
3) a flat screen.

Smart-phones are mobile computers that can do everything from reminding you to send flowers to your mother on Mother's Day to helping you find your car in a mega-mall parking lot. Tablet PCs, like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Motorola Xoom, aren't just for Angry Birds (which is as addicting as Zynga's "Words with Friends") but are also used to read newspapers, watch movies and read best-selling books. Flat screens, on the other hand, aren't as mobile but provide visually rich content in High Definition (HD).

The good news about our current technological landscape is the prices for these amazing tools (or toys) continue to fall. The bad news is the costs associated with using these technological marvels and computer devices are starting the rise.

Checking email, surfing the Internet, using great apps like Facebook and Twitter all require robust data plans... for which we pay our phone carrier's for the privilege.

Mobile phone companies also realize the increasing demand for data. "Data usage is increasing at about 40 percent a year," said AT&T's spokesman Mark Siegel. With over 300 million cell phone users in the U.S. alone, that's a lot of data usage! AT&T recently announced they will be raising prices by as much as 33 percent on Jan. 22, 2012.

New customers on its least-expensive program will pay $20 a month for 300 MB, while three gigabytes (GB) will cost you $30 a month. The price increase will only affect new customers and not those currently in existing contracts. The higher the demand for data usage, the more likely we'll see price increases for these services in the future.

Before contemplating an early exodus from your current phone carrier, here are a few tips to consider:

1. Check your phone bill for your current data usage. You may have room to lower your bill by choosing a lower priced plan or by increasing the plan.

2. Research other carriers and compare your current data needs with what the other carriers offer. Don't only focus on price!

3. Most phone carriers offer a corporate discount. Check with your company and the phone carriers to see if you qualify for a corporate discount. You can save as much as 22 percent per month/bill for working at your company.

4. Consider switching carriers -- Sprint and T-mobile offer unlimited data plans (with some data speed restrictions of course).

Maybe it was good for the consumer that the AT&T and T-mobile merger didn't happen. More importantly, with the exponential increase in data usage, "Can You Hear Me Now? (TM)" will no longer apply. Just send me an email instead!

Stay tuned for more money tips!

Got Money questions? Email your questions: info(at)