Illinoisans are spending a lot of money on data capacity for their smart phones that they don’t use. This is according to the Citizens Utility Board, which studied the issue, and finds Illinois cell phone users over-pay $1.4 billion a year on their data plant, mostly for data that goes unused.

That amounts to $194 a year per smart phone user. The data plans that the phone companies offer are either too small, resulting in charges for overages, or so big that the customer leaves much of the data unused, says Executive Director David Kolata.

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“They box you in to either buying a ton – unlimited, that you’re not gonna use, at least in most cases you’re not gonna use, or the offers are so little that they put the fear that you’re gonna go over, so one of the things that we’d like to see are more options for consumers,” he said.

He is urging the carriers to price data on a per-megabyte basis, or at least to offer more tiers of data service.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /