NCC explains reasons for high data depletion during lockdown

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cautioned mobile users on high rate of internet consumption after observing a surge in the number of complaints from consumers regarding data depletion and poor quality of data services.

The commission, who made this known through a public notice signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr Henry Nkemadu, explained why there’s faster Data Depletion since the beginning of the lockdown.

It disclosed that during the lockdown which commenced on March 30 in some states, it received a total of 76 complaints, 58 of which were said to be related to unsatisfactory data services. It however added that 68 of the grievances lodged with the commission during that period had been resolved.

NCC stated: “Your data is used whenever your phone connects to the internet. The following activities are the most common uses that reduce your data: Sending and receiving emails; Downloading and uploading files (pictures, documents, videos, etc.) – the larger the file, the more the data consumption; Browsing the internet – the more pictures, videos or graphics on the websites visited, the more data is used.

“Instant Messaging – like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, etc. Streaming music/ videos on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and other channels; Games – games use a lot more data than most people imagine, due to the intense graphics and algorithms that power them, Social media applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Video-chatting and conferencing applications like Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp Video, etc.”

The Commission went on explaining the various factors that affect the consumption of data. It said: “The nature of technology (2G, 3G or 4G ), the quality of the network, the speed of download, the type of websites you visit, the specifications of your handset, and so many other factors contribute to your data consumption.”

NCC, in giving a solution advised users to manage mobile data usage so that it does not deplete quickly. “Disable mobile data when it is not needed and Use data compression in your browser. By reducing video streaming quality from video sites such as YouTube,
Netflix, Hulu, Showtime – you can use from 1080p or default/ auto setting to 240p for optimal viewing and lower data consumption. This may however affect the quality of your experience.

“Deactivate all cloud storages except when / where necessary. Try not to break or interrupt downloads in-between video sessions. Turn off automatic updates for apps for mobile devices, laptops and personal computer.
Use Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you can to save your mobile data – you
should however note that there are data security risks to using open/free Wi-Fi connections.

“Limit sending and receiving files and push notifications, delete email messages that won’t send and are no longer required, send big files when connected via Wi-Fi, monitor time spent on Social Media, close apps when you’re done using them can also reduce data usage, set up usage alerts,” NCC explained.

Based on interaction with aggrieved subscribers, the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the commission said it observed that some subscribers were not well informed on data usage management, even though the information was available on their service providers’ websites.

“Some consumers are also not aware that smartphones and Internet-enabled devices run automatic background updates on installed features and software such as Android applications and Windows, which cause increased depletion of data subscriptions,” the commission said.

“A consumer claimed he bought 20GB of data and it depleted after some days but after a thorough investigation by the service provider, it was revealed that the consumer only bought 5GB of data, which was used on high-resolution television to watch Netflix,” NCC said.

The regulator warned that data usage was expected to be high for employees who work from home and were using their mobile devices for communication and virtual meetings.

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