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

Mr Mobility clarifies: Does using 4G/LTE mean that you use up more data?

Posted by

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.

super-fast broadband

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!


  1. customer service and public relations are a weak point for most corporate entities in these parts. as per data depletion, you should also note that some background services will run faster/more frequently on a fast connection

  2. The problem in Nigeria and elsewhere in the developing world and emerging markets is that there’s no proper infrastructure on the part of ISPs to actually tell consumers how much data they are using. Had it not been for data apps, the consumer would be convinced they are doing something wrong.

    Not once and nowhere have I ever seen the likes of Smile or Spectranet ever take a consumer aside and how them their data usage. I recall my 1GB incident with an ISP that told me I could go to one of their customer service centres to find out how much data I used. When we did this, the person at the centre admitted there was no such facility. Unfortunately this isn’t unique to ISPs but the system itself which is incredibly flawed.

    I can bet you anything that I will get 3GB in the abroad that would last longer than locally provided LTE, doing the same things in both countries.

    I would agree that you will do that bit more with a faster, reliable connection, and I believe in some cases, people have used up all of their data. However, the consistency of some of the things I’ve heard don’t stack up.

    What they did to Sanusi is a joke – a serious company wouldn’t call you anonymously with veiled threats. But I would advocate that anyone who has contacted any of the network providers who feel they have been wronged regarding their data or any other service, if you have no satisfactory resolution, contact the NCC. I cannot say this enough on this blog, get in touch with the NCC if you feel the network provider has not properly addressed your complaint.

  3. Its not like NCC will do anything …. Last time I called them, They told me what they can only do is send my complaints to the ISP… So to me they as useless as calling customer care

  4. I’ve actually complained to the NCC in writing and twice got the issues resolved by the network provider. Initially I figured contacting the NCC was a waste of time, it was because a couple of people in the discussion I was reading said they had matters resolved via the NCC, I decided to try it. If you don’t try you won’t know, right?

    Yes, the NCC will go to the ISP and the ISP will then get in touch with you – not that they have a choice. It’s better than not lodging a complaint; by doing nothing, people are simply condoning the network’s inefficiency and letting them get away with it.

    I did all of my communications online, and even cc’d in one of the NCC staff (because the network provider was smart enought to include them in the reply to me). And I had screenshots, times and dates of EVERYTHING.

    If you can’t be bothered to contact the NCC and accept the situation, fine. But if you persist and can back everything up, you will get somewhere.

  5. Is anyone here familiar with Glo online data management portal @ hsi.glo.com? You get minute-by-minute updates about your data depletion in a tabular form.

    It is true if you have a faster internet, you use more data; but the burn rate of the ISP might be insane. Compare Glo to MTN, we all know the burn rates of these networks are not the same; MTN’s data depletion is at the speed of light.

    I have not used Smile in a long while, I have not subscribed since I finished the free data that came with the Mifi, it was a splendid experience.

  6. Honestly, SMILE especially needs to do something about their burn rate. I had to drop it after my 1G was zapped from my package- before switching my Mifi off I was on 2G, but on switching it on, I was on 3G. No time to start grumbling after CC told me their popular, its 4G superfast balderdash story. I moved on to other options, though not as smooth but still manageable and pocket friendly.

    I know a couple of other people with the same story. I make bold to say that there is an issue with there metering system and it is deliberate. I hope they realise that they are losing customers before its too late.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *