Ways to use your 3G data judiciously on phone


3G has arrived too late in India and still cannot be said to be offering speeds anywhere near international standards. Service providers like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea claim to give speeds above 2 mbps (visible speed of 800 kbps) but those claims are simply false.

One doesn’t experience the actual speed and apparently these private players just give you a bit faster speed than the GPRS/EDGE.

My own experience with Airtel has been worse and some of my friends are having a tough time with Vodafone and Idea. MTNL gives speed but their customer satisfaction is just not good, it’s crappy.

The 3G usage on mobile phones comprises mostly of news sites, blogs, social networking sites, mails apart from downloading music and watching videos, in some cases.

All the operators in india charge almost a similar price for 3G data use. 250 for 200 mb, 450 for 600 mb, 650 for 1.25 gb, 750 for 2 gb.

The general user who sends mails, reads a few news sites, a bit of status updates and some image viewing ends up spending around 150-250 mb of data per month on EDGE/GPRS.

However, the same if used on 3G networks consume more data because we end up using more because of better speed and do things which we would avoid on a slow connection.

Here is a simple logic behind this. If you use 30 minutes on Facebook on GPRS it will load pages slow and images will take time to open which will let you drop some files due to the wait. But when on a better speed, you not only see all that you desire but use the same amount of time as well which loads more data.

There is a way out for this. Try to go for mobile version of the websites which have very low resolution images and are most of the time heavy on text. That means your phone would load only the required images and text. No advertisements, no flash running in behind will consume less data and battery. (generally all the mobile sites start with m.sitename.com, eg. m.google.com, m.timesofindia.com, m.Facebook.com etc.)

Second, go for particular mobile applications for the websites you surf. They are mobile specific and are far efficient then the websites. They cater only what the user wants. They can be customised to your needs and tastes. Fir example, TOI mobile app takes less time to load than the TOI website on phone.

Try not to watch videos unnecessarily on your phone. Videos are biggest data eaters and unless you have an unlimited data plan on 3G and you are a video person, you will burn a hole into your pocket. Cut short on YouTube and click less on Facebook video links.

Avoid sending image attachments with mail unless in dire need. You can also use some image editing tools on phones to compress image before sending as attachment.

Try to use your phone as an Internet modem less frequently and must turn ‘automatic updating’ off. If you don’t do so, your system will download updates, fast on 3G, and major chunk of your data will be used by the laptop instead.

Computers download the main sites with all plug-ins on Internet so use more data than on phone for the same site. So, use phone as a modem very less, actually avoid doing so unless in emergency.

Use better browsers for phone. Opera mini is out there which employs a great technology to load data faster and better. It won’t download the actual image unless you intend to see that image in full. If there is a website with lots of images or heavy size image, it will show you a lighter version of it unless you click and ask for the actual one.

Opera is the browser which beats all other in-built browsers on phone including current safari on iPhone.

If you employ these ways you can save a lot of money on data usage because if you exceed your prescribed limits, the data charge is as heavy as 30p/20kb which becomes Rs 15/mb and 1500 for a GB. That is quite big money for so less data.

Happy surfing on phone.


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