Forget Data Bundles, Use WiFi. Here’s Why

It’s laid in stone now, data is now more expensive after Potraz ordered operators to hike the prices. Data bundles are now officially to expensive to be practical.

I am not really going to focus on why you should use wifi. Instead, I am looking at using mobile data to access the internet. I will be using Econet Wireless’ new tariffs, as they are the ones that are currently compliant with the operators. They have been the first to increase the price of mobile data by scrapping all the promotional offers.

If you are not feeling like reading today, just scroll down to the image near the bottom. It sums up how much you need to do certain activities over the course of a month.

Just to put you into perspective, I am saying it’s insane to load webpages using

The Size of a Web Page

The size of a webpage is increasing, and there are no signs of slowing down. Folks at KeyCDN put the size of an average webpage at 2.3MB towards the end of 2016. And you can check out HTTP Archive for graphs.

For mobile, some sites are better optimised. The average size of these pages drops down to 1.3 megabytes, which is still quite a lot. Diggle.Tech comes into this range, thanks to a simple design.

You can blame this on something called responsive design. I do not hate it, it makes things beautiful everywhere. But it also means, generally, you are downloading as more data than would be necessary to show a page. Imagine having to load the largest sized image, just in case…

What a $1 for 10 Megabytes Really Means

When you buy your data for $1 for 10 MB, the price per megabyte is 10 cents. This also applies to the lower 50 cents bundle. Thus, you are loading a webpage at the cost of 10 cents each page. And this is when we are using the conservative estimate, otherwise you could be ponying up as much as 23 cents to load a webpage!

The size of a page that eventually gets loaded is not really fixed, though. When your internet connection is too slow, some parts of the page will not get loaded in the end. This can reduce the size that is loaded by up to 25{c509fa0689117bbb203bb121d1f17d6cabc65c372518e5121e451cedb6b210c3}. But for purposes of this argument, we assume LTE speeds. After all, we are testing against the smart data network, right?

Social Media Usage

If you are a heavy user of social media, well there is really not much I can say. Whatsapp compresses the images you send through the app. An average camera image is compressed to between 100kb to 250kb, depending on the aspect ratios and other factors. I will take 150 as the average in this post. You can then calculate how much data you are going to blow in a day on your own, right? You can rule out texts, they don’t take much data.

If you use Instagram, then you know how these things work. The same can also be said for Facebook, as they are so much image based. I am not hating on Twitter, but the Facebook trio pretty much defines social media in Zimbabwe.

The Amount of Data You Need A Month

To get this estimate, I will break down the content into downloads and web pages. For downloads and videos, those you do at your own risk.

I will define a light user as someone who browses 10 pages a day, browses Facebook for an hour and 30 whatsapp images. That translates to at least 13 megabytes, 90 megabytes and 4.5 megabytes each day. Remove Facebook, and you are looking at 17.5 megabytes. And that is more than 2 dollars a week.

The table below shows how much data you will need in a month, depending on your average usage.Data a typical user need on mobile

The cost of the data

You can check out for yourself the costs of the different amounts of data. But to be able to browse a little of facebook and a little websites, be prepared to shell out at least $10. To surf with a little peace of mind, you need $20 which will get you 750MB of data, which is at least usable. And if you are a heavy user, be prepared to pay maybe a hundred?

You can do the math, and see if it is worth it…





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