The Nigerian Communications Commission in a recent move to educate Nigerians on the usage of internet data has released a document that includes the frequently asked questions and answers to the general public.
The document which was obtained by our correspondents gave insight into consumer’s data usage and how to effectively control it.
Read Full Document Below:
In view of recent developments pertaining to the unfortunate spread of the Corona Virus (Covid-19), the Federal Government directed a total lockdown of some States from the 30th of March 2020, while some State Governors also directed total lockdowns in their respective States. Due to the aforementioned, consumers are staying at home and making use of more telecommunications services than ever before, to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues, work and the world at large. As a result, the Commission has observed a surge in the number of complaints from consumers regarding Data Depletion and Poor Quality of Data services.
In line with our (PIE) mandate of Protecting, Informing and Educating consumers, the Commission immediately investigated the complaints and ensured resolution as necessary. However, we also believe that it is necessary to empower consumers with information on data consumption and usage to enable them get better value from their data subscriptions and to get prompt redress where necessary. To achieve these objectives, we have developed the followingFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with regards to data consumption and usage:
1. What is Internet Data Usage?
Internet data is a service provided by telecom service operators to the end users to enable them access the internet. The speed of the access and the nature of activities which the consumer can carry out often depends on the nature of the technology in use. Access technologies are usually classified into “Generations” to denote their age and characteristics, as follows:
a) 2nd Generation Technology (i.e. 2G) is circuit switched technology which is relatively low-speed GPRS, EDGE mode or their equivalents;
b) 3rd Generation Technology (3G) is packet and circuit switched and is in HSPA, HSPA+ m ode or their equivalents;
c) whilst, 4th Generation Technology (4G) is packet switched technology, that is, LTE, LTE-A mode or their equivalents.
Each of these technologies provides different speeds and protocols for using the internet. Newer generations of phones are usually designed to be backward-compatible, so a 4G phone can communicate through a 3G or even 2G network.
2. What does G stand for?
As explained above, “G” stands for “GENERATION”. When you connect to internet, the speed of your internet access is dependent upon the signal strength and the access technology. The technology is shown in alphabets like 2G, 3G, and 4G etc. right next to the signal bar on your mobile phone’s home screen.
3. Does the usage of 2G, 3G or 4G have impact on data usage? Can this also lead to depletion of data?
Absolutely, Yes. The higher the generation, the higher the speed, and consequently the faster your mobile data is consumed.
4. What is Mobile Data?
Mobile data is internet content accessed by, or delivered to your phone over a wireless/cellular (i.e. mobile) connection. When you purchase mobile data plans, you are entitled to a certain amount of data over a fixed period of time. You can also access the internet through Wi-Fi connections depending on whether you have access to that particular Wi-Fi network. With mobile data however, you can use the internet as long as your phone can detect your network’s data signals, and you have an active data plan on that network. Therefore, the mobile data is what allows your phone to get online when you are away from Wi-Fi.
5. What causes Data Consumption/Usage/Depletion?
Your data is used whenever your phone connects to the internet. The following activities are the most common uses that reduce your data:
● Sending and receiving emails,
● Downloading and uploading files (pictures, documents, videos, etc.) –
the larger the file, the more the data consumption,
● Browsing the internet – the more pictures, videos or graphics on the
websites visited, the more data is used,
● Instant Messaging – like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, etc.
● Streaming music/ videos on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and other channels,
● Games – games use a lot more data than most people imagine, due to
the intense graphics and algorithms that power them,
● Social media applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter,
● Video-chatting and conferencing applications like Zoom, Skype,
WhatsApp Video, etc.
6. How do Internet Service Providers (ISPs) estimate data usage?
Your data consumption depends on a large number of factors. As mentioned above, the nature of technology (2G, 3G, 4G or 5G), the quality of the network, the speed of download, the type of websites you visit, the specifications of your handset, and so many other factors contribute to your data consumption.
For instance, two handsets can use different amounts of data to download or stream the same video on YouTube!
The following approximations give an estimation of data usage. Please note that these are mere estimations provided by an operator based on typical/average file sizes.
1 Hour of Social Media = 200mb
1 Hour of Browsing = 60mb
1 Hour of Instant Messaging with video calls = 140mb
1 Hour of streaming music = 60mb
1 Hour of Streaming Videos = 350mb (Non HD) and 1GB (HD) 1 Email sent or received with attachments = 500kb
1 minute of connected game play = 60mb
7. What activities use up the most data?
As you will notice from the answer to question 6 above, the most common activities (inclusive of uploads and downloads) that use large amounts of data are as follows:
● Downloading and watching videos online especially on sites Like Netflix and YouTube.
● Sending and receiving emails with large attachments
● Software updates and virus definition u pdates
● Going on Social Media sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram,
Twitter, Tik Tok etc.
● Playing Games on a website or via a downloaded app
● Remote security cameras
● Data sent between sites on a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
● Mobile App online Notifications from social media, social marketing
8. How can I use my mobile Data wisely or avoid Data wastage?
There are number of things you can do to manage your mobile data usage so that it does not deplete quickly, but instead last longer. The following are examples:
● Disable mobile data when it is not needed
● Use data compression in your browser
● By reducing video streaming quality from video sites such as YouTube,
Netflix, Hulu, Showtime – you can use from 1080p or default/ auto setting to 240p for optimal viewing and lower data consumption. This may however affect the quality of your experience.
● By deactivating all cloud storages except when / where necessary.
● By not breaking or interrupting downloads in-between video sessions.
● Turn off automatic updates for apps for mobile devices, laptops and
● Use Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you can to save your mobile data – you
should however note that there are data security risks to using open/free Wi-Fi connections. Your passwords and personal data are often exposed on such connections.
● Limit sending and receiving files and push notifications
● Delete email messages that won’t send and are no longer required.
● Send big files when connected via Wi-Fi or use Wi-Fi for big files
● Monitor time spent on Social Media
● Closing apps when you’re done using them can also reduce data usage
● Set up usage alerts
9. How can I use my phone to manage my data usage to avoid Data wastage?
Your smartphone’s default settings are typically configured to get the best possible experience, which comes at the cost of your data usage. You can change those settings to manage your data usage in the following ways:
By Manually Capping Mobile Data: To do this,
Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Data Usage > Billing Cycle
By Manually setting Data Saver
Activate data saver: Locate “Data Usage” on your device and activate
“Data Saver”. This will help cut down your data usage by
preventing apps from using data in the background. Disable auto-update on your App store
Disable multimedia auto-download on your social media apps Turn off your data when it’s not in use.
Stop Apps from automatically Synching: to do this,
Go to Setting > Apps & notifications > Select App > Select Disable Background Data
Don’t Stream it, Download It.
It is more advisable to download video or audio content to save
data than to stream it online.
● Set data alert notifications on your mobile phone.
● Avoid multiple configuration of the same email address on your
mobile phone. For instance, do not configure your Gmail address on your email app as well as Gmail app at the same time on the same mobile phone.
10. How to monitor and limit data usage on an Android phone:
a. USE DATA SAVER MODE
If you have Android 8.0 or later, your phone should come equipped with Data Saver mode, which kicks in when you are not on Wi-Fi and ensures that apps and services that are not being actively used won’t be able to stream data in the background.
It is very easy to turn Data Saver mode on and off. To do this,
● Go to Settings
● Go to “Network & internet” > “Data usage”
● Select “Data Saver.” Toggle “Use Data Saver” on.
There may be specific apps that you want to allow to use background data, even when Data Saver mode is on. For example, you may want to get Twitter notifications no matter where you are. To do this,
▪ Go to the “Data Saver” page (see above)
▪ Tap on “Unrestricted data”
▪Scroll down to any apps that you want to enable for background data use even when Data Saver mode is on. Toggle them on.
b. SET A DATA LIMIT
You can set your phone to issue a warning if you’re nearing your data limit before the end of your monthly billing cycle. You can even set a limit beyond which your phone will not use any data. To do this,
▪ Go to Settings
▪ Go to “Network & internet” > “Data usage” > “Data warning &
▪ Tap on “App data usage cycle.” This will let you set the day that your account starts it’s monthly cycle.
▪ Back up and toggle “Set data warning” on. You can then enter the data limit – say, 4GB — that you want for your
11. How do I Limit Data Usage on Apps?
● Open the YouTube App.
● Tap on the profile icon at the top right corner
● Select Settings.
● Click on General.
● Turn on “Limit Mobile Data Usage”.
B. Play Store (Android):
● Go to the Google Play store.
● Click on Menu & go to Settings.
● Click on Auto-update apps.
● Select “Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only”.
● You also have the option to choose “Do not auto-update apps
C. IOS (Apple: I-Phone) :
● Go to settings on the I-phone
● Click on iTunes and App Store
● Got to Mobile Data Option
● Turn off ‘Automatic Updates’
● Or you can turn off the apps that you don’t want automatic
● You can also click on App downloads and select the preferred
option in regards to app downloads.
● Open Instagram options.
● Go to Accounts.
● Go to Settings.
● Select Cellular Data Use.
● Then tick Use Less Data
E. WhatsApp – Deactivate Auto-download
● Go to the “settings” section in your WhatsApp APP.