South African mobile users feeling the pinch could have 30% more pricey data available if they better managed how their data is drained by apps like Google Drive, Facebook Messenger and Gmail when their phone screens are off.
A recent study based on app usage with Opera Max indicated that 30% of all data is used by apps running in the background when they’re not actively being used.
The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association of SA (WASPA) says a common consumer query it receives is about allegedly “disappearing” airtime.
“Unmanaged data usage can easily deplete airtime balances when apps are automatically updating and fetching new content users haven’t requested. Our advice to mobile users is to disable automatic app updates in Settings,” says WASPA GM Ilonka Badenhorst.
She adds there are many apps available for download that manage other apps’ background data usage. One example is Opera Max, a free data-savings and data-management Android app, but there are others to help users get more out of mobile data plans.
Badenhorst says that navigating to the smartphone’s “settings” icon and opening the “data usage” tab will reveal a list of applications downloaded and the amount of data each has consumed, usually over the last month.
The list makes for interesting reading. The top offender is usually the operating system’s App Store, followed by such applications as Internet Banking, VoIP apps like Skype, and other applications users probably don’t really need to access on the go.
A 2014 study by Internet.org examined the state of global Internet connectivity and found that only half of Africans could afford more than 20MB of Internet data a month. With Africans continuing to adopt smartphones that are data hungry, compression technology is becoming increasingly relevant.