This year, we experienced the Covid-19 pandemic and with it came the lockdown period that disrupted traditional ways of operation transitioning Ugandans into a new modus operandi - digitisation.
This drove an apparent demand for data to sustain the extraordinary lifestyle that dictates limited human interaction. Meetings, school, work, business, entertainment et al is all currently in virtual space.
This new lifestyle has been simulated fully in everyday life obsoleting the standard way of life where data was a luxury, especially for certain demographics such as school-going children.
This spreads the need for data across the entire family hence increasing data budget per household. The cost of data in Uganda remains low. A Gigabyte (GB) of data in Uganda costs 89 cents, ranking the country among the top 30 countries with the cheapest data in the world as witnessed in a recent research published by visual capitalist.
Managing your data under many circumstances is incumbent on the user. Our smartphones and devices have become so sophisticated and heavily reliant on applications. For an enhanced user experience, the Apps require continuous updates from the Internet while consuming and depleting data even when in passive mode.
Such Apps include location updates, map info, Facebook, Snapchat, Skype, Instagram and WhatsApp. It is advisable to disable some of these apps when not in use to bar access to the Internet.
I recommend you to manage your Apps to avoid background updates and it is advisable to disable some of these apps so they do not continue accessing the Internet when you are not using your device.
Additionally, your smartphone has a provision to support data usage control. In the settings of your device, you can activate data controls, limits and thresholds which when reached, you receive alerts letting you know about your consumption so that you can manage and budge your usage accordingly. This solution is complimentary to the Airtel usage SMS notifications that you receive at 70 per cent and 90 per cent usage of your bundle.
Second, it is important to keep track of the data bundles that you subscribe to, especially for users that subscribe to multiple bundles. Ideally, the bundles deplete in the order of validity. For example, a daily bundle will be utilised before a monthly bundle.
Sometimes you may subscribe to multiple data packs with different validity and volume caps eg daily, weekly or monthly and when one of them is expiring or has used a certain threshold, a notification will be sent that can confuse you thinking that all your bundles have expired.
In such cases, please check your volume first to see how much is left and also it is advisable to purchase a larger bundle, preferably a monthly pack, so that you can have uninterrupted service for the month.
Data sharing is the third way that data depletes fast. Data sharing products such as Airtel’s Tugabane allow multiple users to browse on your account on their own lines.
The product allows the customer to connect family and friends to the Internet regardless of distance, making good monitoring and data management. In case the person you are sharing with has more data affinity than you do, your depletion speed will be high as consumption is based on what the other user(s) are using the Internet for.
It also is recommended that you keep your phone password protected from unauthorised users who may access your phone and subscribe themselves to your Tugabane account.
So once done sharing, deactivate any extra users.
In line with the traditional data sharing products is the WiFi hotspot. Customers are encouraged to often change their WiFi hotspot passwords because if unchanged, people that have used it before, will be able to tap into the WiFi whenever opportunity presents.
Lynda Nabayiinda is the director - customer experience - Airtel Uganda.