When SMS rates where hiked and daily cap on SMS was imposed, most of us shifted to WhatsApp & Facebook for messaging. Then operators started increasing 2G internet rates to new heights with monthly packs going as high as Rs 175/month. But most of the users don’t need full internet access, they just need WhatsApp or Facebook. Operators then came up with WhatsApp and Facebook packs which offer a month of usage just under Rs 50. Everyone thought that these packs would be life savers, but are they really worth?
What happens when data is turned on your phone?
To test this, I used an app called My Data Manager which shows app-wise data usage. I restarted my phone and turned on the data connection to see the apps which are using the data connection. To my surprise, almost all the apps installed on my phone used the internet. The apps used few KB of data, but the combined usage was about an MB. So, if I were on a WhatsApp pack, I would have been charged around Rs 10 at base rate of 10p/10KB.
How to make sure only WhatsApp uses data on your phone?
The most recommended way for this is to use ‘Restrict Background Data’ under Settings > Data Usage, but enabling this option will hinder WhatsApp’s ability to run in the background. Besides, if you accidentally open any apps, it can still use internet and burn your balance. You can also try Restrict Background Data for specific apps, but it will be tedious process to apply for each and every app on your phone.
So, the best possible option I could find was to use apps like Android Firewall which has option to block internet access to specific apps. But at the end of the day, it may not be the right tool for an average user.
In short, your phone is data hungry and all your apps need to go online. Even with right tools like firewall apps on your phone, you will find it difficult to make sure that only WhatsApp uses data connection. You will end up wiping out your balance instead of saving money. So, we would recommend avoid these packs and go for full Internet packs by paying a little extra. We even did detailed analysis on application Only specific Offerings as well sometime back.
If you have ever used WhatsApp/Facebook Internet packs, please let us know your experience through comments.
An IT professional who has got great passion for telecom. Has been closely watching Indian telecom space since 2009.