On Cellphone (Data) Charges-A A +A
My Palm Notes
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
MANAGE your phone. Manage your account. Manage your finances.
Our good friend Wo Rosete, the very effective external relations manager of Smart Communications, has sent a dispatch on how to get rid of those unwanted, unplanned, unanticipated, (unacceptable, too) charges on your cellphone bills or loads.
Hardworking as he always is, Wo went far as to writing and sending us this set of tips.
These tips, no matter simple or complicated, are beneficial. One media colleague of mine incurred up to P60,000 (not with Smart though) in data charges as he forgot to check his data settings when he spent one weekend in Hong Kong.
Lesson learned? Ignoring phone settings could cost a fortune.
Here’s the substantial portion of it:
Have you ever encountered a sudden spike in your monthly phone bill? Or wondered why you consumed your load faster than you normally do? Then you might have unintentionally incurred data charges.
With the proliferation of “smart” devices (portable devices that have instant access to the Internet via cellular services), unexpected data charging has crossed paths with many, if not all, mobile users.
From newbies to techies, this newfangled phone phenomenon chooses no one. Fortunately with a little knowledge, its effects can be avoided--saving you precious pesos in the process.
Use a data monitor. Whatever type of smartphone you use, there are several apps that could help you monitor mobile data activity. These apps measure the amount of incoming or outgoing data from your phone and they can blurt out alert tones when you're nearing the pre-set limit.
Android: Onavo Count (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.onavo.android.onavoid)
iOS: Data Monitor (https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/data-monitor-manage-data-usage/id5762336...)
BB: Data Monitor (http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/14626/)
Limit background data usage. Modern smartphones are pre-programmed to make sure they run the latest versions of applications. It does this, however, by constantly connecting to the Internet even without your knowledge. This is commonly called an active background connection. Be on the safe side by tweaking your background data usage – options to limit or turn off background activity can easily be toggled in the settings menu.
Be on the spot. Pay close attention to your phone’s WiFi signal especially when you’re mobile. Moving out of range from a WiFi hotspot may cause your phone to automatically switch to a 3G or 4G connection.
If you’re not careful, you will be charged additional data fees.
Subscribe to Always On or UnliSurf. Do you need to be online constantly but have to keep within budget? Smart has data packages that suit a myriad of usage habits. If you wish to surf the web on a “per byte” basis there are the Always On packages. If you want a time-based connection, meanwhile, you can avail of a daily, weekly, or monthly UnliSurf package. Dial *888 for Smart Postpaid line or *1515 for Smart Prepaid for the complete list of packages. Always On and UnliSurf packages are valid for use only in the Philippines.
Browse safely with SmartNet. SmartNet is a platform developed by Smart which lets you enjoy popular apps like Twitter and Facebook for free. It does this by using a feature called Internet On/Off, which allows your phone to access only
whitelisted sites and services. This means that even if you keep your phone’s data connection active, you won’t be charged a single centavo, so long as you use only the SmartNet suite of apps.
SmartNet can be downloaded for free from Google Play, Apple iTunes, and Windows Marketplace. It is also available via mobile web (http://m.smartnet.ph) for feature phones and mobile browsers, and via PC Web (www.smartnet.ph).
For more smartphone tips and tricks, visit Smart’s official channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/smartcorporate) which contains tutorial videos.
I must thank and commend a technical officer from Smart named Niel Pascual who went out of his way to give me one perfect tip that solved my problem on unstable 3G/LTE connections on iPhone5.
Niel, together with another tech, came to see me at my Clark office one day (it was almost lunch time, but they did not mind) to walk me through a setting that finally ended my woes (which began in April this year actually).
The reason why I’m pointing out Niel’s effort is that I have also requested call outs from techs through Smart’s hotlines last month and the call center agents I talked to (about 4 of them from August 25 to September 2) just noted down my requests. No call ever came to me based on those calls/request I made.
I think Niel’s personal visit to me was also due to facilitation made by Mr. Rosete and Smart Store SM Clark Manager Lolit Cardona – these guys were superb in their handling of my tech problems and other issues.
Now, if you’re wondering why this piece is an all SMART thing, the answer is plain and simple – I only get dispatches from this carrier as I have yet to receive a single press release from its main competitor Globe. I also have not met any of their PR or Marketing Officers in this part of the Republic.
Not smart eh?
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 18, 2013.