The rise of the Smartphone has completely revolutionised the way we use our cellphones. While there’s no denying that the added features are very convenient, many people don’t realise that these things come at a price. Data charges are often overlooked when choosing a cellular package, and failing to take your data usage into account could end up costing you a pretty penny.
So, it’s important that you find out more about what your data options are and the costs involved. That way, you can keep an eye on your usage and make sure that you’re still within your budget. To help you decide which data plan is best for you, ask yourself the following questions:
When do I use data?
Activities like browsing the web, checking e-mails, updating Facebook or Twitter, downloading music, watching videos and instant messaging like, WhatsApp and MXit, all use data. The more you use your phone for these purposes, the higher your data usage will be.
What does it cost me?
The amount of money you pay for data will differ from one service provider to the next. Some will charge you a specific rate per unit (usually per megabyte), while others will offer you special deals on larger amounts and data bundles.
How do I make sense of some the big words used?
Below are a few important terms you should keep in mind when selecting a data package:
Contract vs. Prepaid
A contract data deal usually comes with a phone and has a set monthly subscription fee, for which you’ll get a pre-determined data bundle. Remember to check what your data allowance is, in order to determine whether this is sufficient to service your needs or if you need to buy additional data.
Prepaid customers buy data just like they buy airtime and can choose how much data they purchase at a time. Prepaid data bundles are usually cheaper however once you exceed the purchased amount the costs of using data will be deducted from your airtime balance.
IBR vs. OOB
IBR or In Bundle Rate refers to the price you pay for the amount of data in your bundle. Out Of Bundle rates (OOB) are what you pay as soon as you go over the amount of data purchased in your bundle and are much higher than in bundle rates.
*It is extremely important to never go over your allotted usage per month, as this will dramatically increase your data tariffs.
Airtime vs. Data
A simple mistake, and one many people make, is to buy prepaid airtime and forget to convert this to data. Speak to your service provider about how you can do that as it differs from network to network. By converting your airtime to data, you will be paying out of bundle rates (OOB) for every megabyte you use, which can amount to as much as R2 per megabyte! The same applies to contract customers, who exceed the allotted amount on their packages. One way to combat this is to put a put a cap on your usage, so that you don’t end up paying exorbitant rates.
With this basic understanding of how data works, you’ll know exactly what to look out for and what to avoid.
Now that you’re clued up, let the Hippo help you find a cellphone package that is best suited for you and your pocket. You can view the best deals and compare them too: http://www.hippo.co.za/CellphoneComparison