Data allowance is the amount of mobile internet access that your monthly contract permits you to use every month.
It also enables you to have internet access on your phone using 3G or 4G mobile phone networks if there is no available Wi-Fi hotspot in the area. It is for this very reason that it became one of the most important factors that consumers consider when choosing the best smartphone deal.
Depending on the network you are with, data allowance can vary from 250MB each month to unlimited. Whenever you go past your limit, you will be charged per MB, which can be quite expensive.
If you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi, anything you do on your smartphone that accesses the internet will consume your data allowance. These include sending and receiving messages on messaging apps, downloading emails, checking your Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as streaming songs and videos on Netflix, YouTube, or Spotify.
Below are some tips for getting the most out of your Zain internet packages so you won’t end up paying more than you have to.
1. Use Available Wi-Fi
Modern smartphones allow you to use Wi-Fi hotspots, so use these instead of your data allowance whenever possible.
If you stream videos, browse the internet, and open your social media accounts using Wi-Fi, this will not count towards your mobile data.
There are some mobile networks offering Wi-Fi hotspot access as part of their services. If your provider offers such, take advantage of it so you can save your data for situations wherein there is no Wi-Fi available.
2. Switch Off Data Completely
Worried about how much data you are using? Consider switching off cellular data completely and just use your smartphone to send texts and make calls. Remember though that this option will depend on your network. Thus, you must check directly with your provider if such an option is available.
3. Set Limits on Your Data
You can set reminders to inform you if you have already hit your data limit. You can decide how much data you must use before getting a warning. Also, your network can send you a text if you are getting close to your monthly data allowance. Moreover, there are third-party apps that give data cap warnings.
4. Turn Off Push Notifications
Your phone can tell you if an app has become active through push notifications. Plenty of apps can send you notifications to nudge your memory to do something. Remember that apps with push notifications are gobbling up your mobile data so you’ll stay informed.
It would be a better idea for you to switch them off so they won’t consume your data allowance.
5. Know What Apps are Using Your Data and Restrict Accordingly
Different apps will consume different amounts of mobile data. For instance, Netflix consumes lots of data when you stream high definition videos. On the other hand, WhatsApp only uses a little data. So make sure to check how much data every app is using.
Restricting background data will stop the app from gaining access to the internet unless you open it first or you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
6. Avoid Tethering
Tethering refers to turning your phone into a hotspot to share your mobile data with other web-connected devices like laptops or tablets. This won’t only eat up your data, but some networks will also charge extra for such an option. So if you are in doubt, avoid using the “Personal Hotspot” or “Portable Wi-Fi hotspot” feature on your phone.
7. Turn Off International Data Roaming
To keep from getting surprised by high charges on your bill while you are abroad, some networks today already offer a capped data roaming allowance. International plans will allow you to take pictures and videos of your trip and to upload them to your social media accounts. However, you need to know which countries are eligible for such plans.
But if you don’t want to invest in roaming services, you can just turn off data roaming. This way, you won’t face high costs once you get home.
With increased mobile data speeds, you can do more than you ever have before. You probably could not even imagine life without them. But with great bandwidth comes great responsibility. You must be mindful of the abovementioned common mistakes so you can avoid a hefty wireless bill.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.