I am not going to wade into what looks like a PR fail on the part of the Smile 4G officials who have been in contact with Sanusi in recent days over his tweets and a blog post about Smile’s service. I think that the people behind those calls need to sit back and re-evaluate their actions. That approach will surely backfire. Badly.
Yet, I am interested in this concept – this suggestion that using a faster internet connection means that the user consumes more data, so I will share a few thoughts and facts. Come with me.
1. Using a 4G connection does not necessarily change the size of the webpages and files that you access. Note the word “necessarily”. I added that qualifier for a reason. Video and audio streaming services often serve you different file qualities depending on the speed of your connection. If your Youtube video settings is on Auto, this is exactly what happens. When you have a slower 3G connection, it may serve you 480P or 720P video quality, but should you access same video on a fast 4G connection, it serves you a higher quality video.
If you know video well, the difference in size between the 720P version and the 1080P version of the same video is huge. You will consume much more data in this scenario. Even one video alone can do much damage to your data allocation. This would apply to Netflix and other video services as well.
Solution: Always peg the file quality of your streaming/download media to a fixed figure if the option to do so is available. 360P video is watchable. 480P will give you better quality. Do 720P and above only if you have no worries about data consumption.
2. Using a 4G connection instead of 3G means that you browse faster and consequently will browse a little bit more. Studies of human nature have shown that activity increases when the experience is smoother and more enjoyable. It is science. Good roads encourage people to drive more. Delicious food means people eat more of the food. A warm home will encourage family members to spend more time at home. It is the same with using the internet: if it is faster and more reliable, people will browse more, watch more videos, stream more music, etc.
This shouldn’t result in huge differences in data consumption if you don’t just dive in and swim without restraint. But you will observe some increase in data consumption for sure.
Solution: Well….dunno. This is a human nature issue. Perhaps become a Martian?
So, we see that depending on various scenarios, it is possible to have a little more data consumption (regular web browsing) and even a huge difference in data consumption (in the case of audio and video) when using a 4G connection instead of a 3G connection.
Having said that, this is not to rule out the possibility of a billing issue on the part of individual service providers. We have seen that sort of thing again and again. I agree that if any subscriber has valid complaints about a service they have paid for, they have the right to file complaints. So, if you are one, please do forward a complaint and press till your complaints are resolved.
I am a Smile 4G subscriber and use it for much of my work here at MobilityArena.com. Having used the service regularly for over a year now, there are times that the data depletion rate have seemed unfair to me, but generally speaking, my experience has been satisfactory.
PS: No; Smile 4G did not pay me for this post. To be honest though, it would be a great idea if they would contract me and pay for things like this. I think that with this article, I have done a better job than the individuals who have been speaking with Sanusi on the telephone over the last few days. I know: I am awesome like that!
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.