Mobile data usage has been in global debt over the years, especially as more and more smart mobile devices are developed and released into the market. Nigeria however is

Your Smartphone: Data usage and Business Productivity

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Mobile data usage has been in global debt over the years, especially as more and more smart mobile devices are developed and released into the market. Nigeria however is not left out as telecommunication companies are promoting a lot of data packages in the market.

We cannot deny the fact that a lot more Nigerians than ever before now own and use smartphones. Some use these devices for work, some to enhance their profile or perceived value, others for PR, and so on. Regardless of usage pattern, one truth is that you can not maximise the use of your smartphone without a data plan.


The question is, what do you do with your smartphone? For me, email is primary. For others, it is their mobile office (I know of a guy that runs his bulk SMS business on his Blackberry device). So, determining your usage should help you determine the data plan that you should pay for.

I use a Nokia N8. Till recently, I used to spend N1,000 on mobile internet service every month. However, I noticed that I do most of my browsing on my laptop and I only use my phone to receive and reply my mails. After this analysis of my data usage I was determined to know the amount of data I use in a month on my smartphone.

I went online and downloaded Data Quota, an application that helps you determine the amount of data you use in a month.

You can download Data Quota here. Data Quota supports both Symbian 5th and 3rd edition.

If you have a pre-determined quota from your operator of how much packet data you can use in a month, it’s a pain to first find the Logs application, open the packet data counter, then try and work out how much data you have left from the amount used so far.

Data Quota shows two simple bars: one showing how much of the data for this month you have used; and one showing how much of the month has elapsed. This lets you tell at a glance if you’ve been using data up too fast or two slow, so you can be more frugal or let rip! It is important to clear your packet data counter on your phone before use so you can have accurate readings.

After installing and using data quota for a month I was able to determine that I use only 40MB out of the 150MB that I pay for every month.

I notice that I have been receiving 15MB every week from Etisalat for free, So I switched my MTN line to another phone (to receive calls) and use my Etisalat line for voice calls and data on my smartphone and I have not been paying for data on my smartphone since then.

Do you know of other ways to reduce expenses on mobile data usage?

Please share your ideas.


  1. I have also been taking advantage of etisalat’s free weekly15mb.

    An alternative to ‘data quota’ mentioned above is ‘mconnection’

    Some ways I save on data is to use an efficient mobile browser that compresses data traffic well. UCBrowser

    I also generally turn off graphics on my mobile browser.

    I turn it back on only when necessary. Saves loads of data.

    I also eschew (as much as possible) applications like ‘Spark’ – that gives ‘always-on’ information about events. Push emails apps are also guilty. They gobble data.

    With these measures, I an able to make do with Etisalat’s weekly 15mb for my mobile data needs.

  2. Eyebeekay, you and uc browser sha…the browser doesnt compress anything for me oo…operamini has a better compression without losing much of page quality..have also been taking advantage of etisalat’s offer..its the best thing that has happened to the mobile world in naija this year..forget the magic number hype!

  3. I alternate my MTN, Etisalat & Glo lines with my smartphones & mobile browsers. I usually use the Glo on the N8 with OperaMini. Then since they began messing up, I used the Etisalat on it. The MTN stayed on my Nokia 5320XM with UCWeb & OperaMobile [can’t use OperaMini since MTN blocks it]. UCWeb is trying, but their page rendering is still not as exquisite at Opera Mini & Mobile.

    As soon as my Glo data package expires, I’m sticking with Etisalat. I can’t wait for their 3G to become active.

  4. Cant wait for their 3G service too..if etisalat edge network rocks like this, i can only begin to imagine their 3G !

  5. Na wa for everyone and free data. I hope if i migrate to easy cliq i will be given the free data? I ask cause some people say its only those on the four in one pack that get the free data. Hope the speed is as good as before? Am afraid congestion might slow things down.

  6. As data counting goes, will we ever have unlimited data plans in Nigeria?

    If any telecoms company [GSM or CDMA or ISP] had plans for such an Unlimited Data plan, how much would you be willing to pay monthly for it?

    I can pay N10k/month.

  7. SpacyZuna >> As data counting goes, will we ever have unlimited data plans in Nigeria?

    Far as I know, ONLY Starcomms has one. 7k…

  8. BIS does not come with unlimited data. The GSM networks deliberately refuse to advertise the actual data caps/limits to promote the mirage of unlimited data. If you download too much, you will be cut off.

  9. “Far as I know, ONLY Starcomms has one. 7k…”

    Yes, and that’s why i use starcomms modem on my laptop and use Connectify to “broadcast” wifi to my phones when i want to do serious work on any of the phones.

    @spacyzuma & shayman,

    Don’t count on etisalat to deliver the goods. I thought etisalat was the best thing that ever happened to my internet browsing until they stated messing up. I get 15mb free weekly and hardly able to use it because the gprs is just not working. It shows on your phone all right but you never get it to browse or download till between 12.30am – 5am daily. To worsen my situation, i also had 100mb/month on same etisalat. I agree this could be due to my location (Sapele), but it could happen anywhere. Just go on subscibing to etisalat till they could not expand enough to accommodate you.

  10. @Deoladoctor
    “Far as I know, ONLY Starcomms has one. 7k…”
    Are you guys referring to the 100hrs, i thought it was 6.5k.
    Starcomms deserves credits for the Speed and unlimited downloads.

    Too bad ‘Connectify’ only works with Windows 7, i seriously need a similar app for XP or Vista (Bzeek refused to work with my XP)

    I use the same app on my phone and its very good.
    I always finish my data because i am always sharing my phone internet to PC.

    Unfortunately, what I need is MORE DATA AND MORE SPEED.

  11. Yes. Starcomms is the only network so far in Nigeria with unlimited download. 6,500 for 100 hours month! Or 15k for 24 hours for one month. This is their 3G/EVDO services. Their 2G services is cheaper. I use Statcomms just like Deoladoctor. I have their palm size wifi router! I create wifi hotspots for my Laptop and mobile devices. The router can take up to 5 devices. To crown it all, I have unlimited Data!

    A very good arrangement!

  12. Etisalat came to my rescue, not just for the 15MB, but also for allowing me to use operamini. i was using MTN 1k per month data plan,couldnt use more than 40 MB in a month,especially when i am not thetering.
    Again Etisalat’s edge service can be nasty sometimes-it will just refuse to connect,especially my snaptu application,where i have my twitter account.Operamini4 connects esily than 5.With five i dont need my email to get to mobilitynigeria on my phone.I simply customise one of the thumbnails on the home screen.And with a touch am home and dry.

  13. Etisalat is actually very Ok at my end, its MTN that has being disappointing me.

    Starcomms is the way to go.

  14. I will probably upgrade my Vista laptop to Windows 7 very soon.

    Will give ‘Connectify’ a try once i get on W7.

  15. Deoladoctor…guess it has to do with your location cause etisalat is blazing hot at my end problems at all..its almost matching MTN’s 3G speeds atimes…mtn is d sluggish netwrk here

  16. (Afewgoodmen — Yes. Starcomms is the only network so far in Nigeria with unlimited download. 6,500 for 100 hours month! Or 15k for 24 hours for one month)

    There is also the 9am – 9pm belt for 7k/month. Unlimited. Seems more cost effective than the 100hours – to me….

  17. hhnmmm… i think i stand out some how amongst all the comments here. my primary line is MTN and i decided using their data services as well (which was not really pleasing). Then i noticed glo was constantly beaming HSDPA (3g) at my hood (Agege) where the best of MTN is edge. Checked them out at the office (apapa)too and its almost same, though MTN is not doing pretty bad there. i have an android device that breadths on data and believe me, you can only enjoy your android when you use it to the fullest. so i switched to glo, got on their always max plan(6gig/mth/=N=7500)and use my sgs as a hot spot whenever i need data on my lappy. Even my wife connects to it through wifi on her bb cos her mtn data is damn slow at home. In summary, i can view youtube and download any size of data (music/movies/apps) on my phone without limitations….. my colleagues even connect to my data through wifi in the office sometimes (max of 5 devices)… still i get to have like 1-2gig remaining at month end.

  18. Just like Starcom, there is a network known as O’ Net (Oodua net) in my area here- ilesa, in Osun state that offers unlimited data cap 24/7 for 30 days @ N11,000. I mean all hours of the 30 days.

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