What is Data Depletion?
Generally, data depletion happens as a result of data usage or consumption. Data depletion has a negative connotation with respect to data usage or consumption by a consumer on his or her phone that is connected to a mobile network.
The term presupposes that a telecoms consumer experiences early, faster, sharp and suspicious depletion on his or her subscribed data compared to what he or she naturally believes should be a moderate reduction in data bundle as a result of usage on his or her device.
Typically, when a telecom consumer subscribes to a mobile data plan from an MNO, the consumer is entitled to a certain amount of data over a fixed period of time. This allows his or her mobile device access to the Internet as long as the device can detect its network data signals and the consumer has an active data plan on that network.
Some common ways data usage on smartphones includes:
- Internet browsing
- Downloading and running apps
- Live-streaming, etc.
Smart phones are specifically designed to accommodate a lot of applications and comply with the latest generation networks, which enable high-speed downloads and heavy data consumption. However, the causes of early or suspicious data depletion on smartphones include:
- Inadequate knowledge on data use
- Automatic updates of operating systems and applications
- Non-closure of running applications
- The generation of network in use (latest generation of networks runs faster, with higher data consumption and better consumer experience, hence, data consumption is faster and higher).
Ways of reducing early data depletion:
The following are various ways or tips by which a consumer can reduce cases of early or suspicious data depletion on their mobile devices:
- Update app over Wi-fi connection only.
- Disable mobile data and close apps when not in use.
- Delete unused apps as they might be running despite not in use.
- Limit the use of data-hungry apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- Disable “auto downloads” especially for Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter apps.
- Turn off automatic updates for apps on mobile devices.
- Use Wi-fi connection when possible to send videos, pictures and big files to minimize data consumption.
- Cache Google maps for offline use.
- Keep an eye on your apps and monitor time spent on social media.
- Be mindful of the websites you visit. The more the pictures, videos or graphics on the site, the more data is consumed.
Please note that following increase in number of consumer complaints on data depletion, the Commission has published a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on that subject and we advise consumers to familiarise themselves with the document.