MOBILE Internet users were up in arms recently, tweeting and posting irate status messages about the telcos’ “latest” fair usage policies (FUP).
Fair usage policy simply refers to any user’s access to data speed being downgraded if the telco detects that the user has gone through an excessive amount of bandwidth.
Here in the Philippines, each user is limited to a certain amount of data, either per day or per month, depending on the telco’s policy. Globe Telecom, for example, throttles a postpaid subscriber’s speed if he/she is detected to have exceeded 1GB of usage in a day or 3GB in a month, whichever comes first. Subscribers at Smart meanwhile are allowed 1.5GB a month before their speed is downgrade(1.5GB covers only mobile browsing and not push notifications from email and messaging services). The fair usage policies also vary when it comes to prepaid users. Users who have availed themselves of month-long promos that are found to be in violation of the FUP will be cut off from the promo even if the month isn’t up yet.
“Where’s the unlimited in that?” Users decried on the ‘Net, many crying foul over what they perceived was a “ripoff.” In reality though, fair usage policies have long been a standard among telcos, here and abroad.
Bandwidth caps are enforced to make sure everyone enjoys the same browsing experience. Unlike DSL Internet connections, performing data-heavy tasks using mobile Internet can adversely affect the browsing experience of others. Telcos and their users feel the bandwidth crunch now, especially as more and more smartphones gain sophisticated features that require high amounts of data (most smartphones are data hogs).
If you’re a heavy Internet user who requires plenty of bandwidth for downloading files, you’re better off with a high-speed connection at home. Your mobile Internet cannot be a substitute for heavy-duty downloading tasks, which are best reserved for a DSL connection.
Don’t worry, though. Unless you’re one of the few who constantly download movies, songs, etc., using your smartphone, you won’t even feel the effect of the fair usage policy, so you can still Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all you want.
Still unsure just how much data each task consumes? Check out this mini-guide:
If telcos downgrade your speed after consuming 1GB then you have 1,000,000 Kb or 1,000 Mb.
This means you can:
Send 2,702 e-mails (without attachments) with one email at 370kb.
Stream 500 minutes or 8 hours of video (better load your smartphone with movies and TV shows downloaded from your home Internet connection instead).
Upload 5,000 Instagram posts. Surely your day isn’t that interesting, unless you’ve just been to a mega-buffet and you’ve just eaten 5,000 dishes.
Send 33,333 instant messages. Your boyfriend has to cheat with at least 10 women simultaneously before you can even send 33,333 angry IM’s (please Instagram a photo of your sore thumbs after sending 33,333 instant messages). •