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Guide to curbing data depletion

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MTN has put together a guide to help users curb depleting data, which is often caused by handset settings.

LTE-compliant handsets
Many modern smartphones are configured for heavy data usage and are compliant with new generation networks such as Long Term Evolution, otherwise known as LTE or 4G. This super-fast network is capable of high download speeds and heavy data consumption which ensures that users can seamlessly undertake a variety of data applications such as surfing the web, sending and receiving e-mails, interacting on social media platforms and streaming, downloading and sending high definition videos using instant messaging platforms.
To benefit from these speeds comes at a cost, because of high speed configuration, many smartphone users who use LTE compatible handsets utilise a lot of data when accessing applications. In other words, the faster the speeds, the more data bundles will be utilised.

Smartphone handsets
There has been an increase in enhanced smartphone handsets in the market due to affordable pricing. When customers purchase or upgrade to these new smartphone handsets. The effect of the new or upgraded device is not always understood properly by the customer.
Some devices have none or limited data functionality and other full data functionality which is directly linked to the amount of data usage. The transition from a dumb phone to feature phone or smartphone has impact on data usage.
Some of these new smartphone now also allow apps to work in the background regardless if you are using them directly or not. As long as app is running on the device it will continued using data. Earlier smartphone and smartphone software versions did not allow this. Customers need to be aware of their handset capabilities and subsequent data usage impact.

Automatic updates
Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have become an integral part of our lives. Since their introduction to the market, these platforms are continuously being updated in response to customer demands, new functionalities and bug fixes are added to make them more interactive and user-friendly.
Often, the updates are automatic and continue to run in the background and the updates often happen without customer interference using data bundles. These automatic updates are default settings on many phones. Most customers are not even aware that some automatic updates can consume up to 3Gb of data. To stop automatic updates, users must go to their cellular data setting and deactivate updates if they wish to save their data bundles.
Alternatively, they can update more cost effectively using WiFi.

Social media goes HD
Facebook and Instagram have also upgraded to the high definition (HD) resolution which is an industry standard. The high definition format is crisper and the picture resolution is more detailed. However, the higher pixel rating of HD has a bigger capacity and therefore uses more data. As a result, normal browsing on Facebook and Instagram would cost a user more than it used to cost them when these platforms were on standard resolution.

Software updates
All of us want to use the latest software as it has the benefits of being an improved version of what we used in the past and has additional functionalities. Microsoft has given Windows users the opportunity to update to the latest version of its operating system for free. While the update to Windows 10 is free, it requires a lot of data which is a 3GB file download.

Surfing the net
Most websites are very interactive and logging on these sites often results in data being unknowingly consumed by adverts running on the page while one is browsing a specific article. This is another reason that accounts for faster data depletion

Photo and video sharing
Instant messaging platforms have become the preferred mode of communication and sharing content such as photos and video content. While this might appear to be cost effective, many users are unaware that sending videos and pictures consumes data bundles, and this can escalate to up to 16Mb per message.

Out of bundles rates
Out of bundle rates are charges for each megabyte transferred outside of the stipulated period which is normally 30 to 60 days. Customers who deplete their data bundles before the stipulated time will be charged a premium per Megabyte when they top up during that period. Customers are advised to purchase data bundles that suit their consumption patterns and buy them when they have reached their monthly allocation.