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Can you live on a 100MB data allowance for 30 days?

If you are a smartphone user relying only on WiFi connectivity to connect to the internet then you are lucky. Unfortunately, a lot of users wanted the extra mobility to access the internet on the go for quick browsing, traffic and weather updates, instant messaging and  to access their social networks.  However,  data has become a prime commodity and being online 24/7 can be expensive. Fortunately in the Philippines, service providers have been offering special deals and promotions on data connectivity. Gone were the days where unlimited call and text is all you need. Most offers now include data allowances. Some are generous and some are just too little to be usable. Are these offerings enough to get you through a month?

To find out if I can live on a 100MB paid data for a month, I registered to one of my service providers offer.  The offer is 100MB data for 30 days for only PHP 99.00.  For 30 days, I went on with my usual surfing habits,  I used my phone to check for traffic, access NBA , ESPN  and MLB score updates, do occasional search, listen to music, instant messaging and visit my social network. For the first 2 weeks I have also my  background data enabled to support push notifications. After 30 days, I still have at least 5MB of free data remaining.

So does this answer my initial question? Literally a resounding yes! However, I have to disagree. Using Microsoft's Data Sense on Windows Phone  ( yes I'm on WP baby!), I listed my  data consumption per application as shown in the table.
Data per application via Data Sense

In total, my consumption reached almost 1 GB of data in 30 days. How come I have still at least 5MB remaining out of the 100MB when my subscription expired? What I failed to tell you at the start is that the data promo offered by my service provider includes the following:

100 MB of Data
1 Gigabytes of Spotify Access
Unlimited Facebook
Unlimited Viber

Thus, without those other freebies , the 100 MB data allocation should have been gone on the first week of my subscription. 
While the idea of being able to live on a 100MB data allowance for 30 days seems not too possible for me, the exercise taught me three important things:

  • I became more aware of what applications on my phone is consuming data and how much are they consuming. This knowledge will give you a better plan on how to allocate your allowance for the month.  In my part, the information that I got lead me to uninstall some apps that were data hungry. 
  • It highlighted the importance of switching off the Background Data at your phone. While this disables push notifications and you wont be able to receive emails or instant messages unless you open and refresh the apps, this also saves you from unnecessary data downloads. Take note that SMS and phone calls will still be received in real time. 
  • It showed me the importance of knowing how to switch ON/OFF your mobile data. This will give you the ability to easily turn it off when not needed. For those going out of the country, it is also a good thing to know how to disable mobile data while on roaming.

I still remember the days when all I have to worry about is the number of remaining calling minutes or SMS in my mobile phone. Times have changed and with the emergence of smartphones and mobile internet connections, the usage has shifted from regular call and SMS to  browsing, data calling, music and video streaming, social networks and instant messaging.  Thus, managing you data consumption is also becoming a necessity to avoid unwanted charges from your service provider.

How much data do you consume in a month and do you monitor your data consumption on your mobile phone? If you have tips and tricks that you may want to share, feel free to visit the comments section.


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