Different business tariff options – pro’s and con’s of individual data vs shared data

It means that companies can have one phone bill and pay for a certain amount of data which is shared between multiple mobile devices. Sharing monthly data between multiple devices means those who use less data don’t get charged for wasted data that isn’t used. At the other end of the spectrum, those who use more data don’t get bill shocks and overage charges because they can use this excess data from other members of the pool. It’s also usually cheaper to sign up to data pool plans than individual plans.

Key Considerations

While this sounds like a fool-proof way to manage corporate mobile expense, data plans do have their risks. For example, when one person goes over the data pool’s limit, two things could happen. Either everyone becomes subject to overage charges, or productivity decreases because internet access is cut off for every device (depending on what type of plan you have). So what are the key considerations when choosing a data plan?

  1. Are your users roaming?

Data roaming is the biggest cause of bill shock events. Although new regulations have been brought in to reduce the amount carriers can charge in roaming fees, if your organization has employees who travel often and globally, then data roaming is still a big issue. It is important to know which employees travel, to where and how often. From here you can make an informed decision about who might be using more data. Read what Gartner recommends for reducing data roaming charges.

  1. How much data is being spent on personal use?

Although corporate mobile phones are intended to be a business tool used only for work, this is often not the reality. Most people feel so dependent on their mobile phone that even a corporate mobile phone can end up feeling like a personal one and employees will use it as such. And there is a fine line when it comes to blocking content – policies that are too strict will upset employees and policies that are too lenient will open your business up to risk. The portion of personal use that happens on a corporate device causes an unnecessary increase in overall data consumption that the company is usually expected to pay for. It’s understandable that employees don’t want to carry around two mobile phones but this means they opt for using their work phone for personal use. This happens even on days off, when they are on holiday and even abroad. To make matters worse, employees tend to use their corporate device even more than they would normally use their personal device knowing that someone else is footing the bill. Getting an idea of how much personal usage takes place on each corporate mobile device as well as knowing how many of your employees have personal devices is critical for choosing the right data plans.

  1. Which apps or sites are using the most data?

At Crystaline, we analyse the data usage patterns of our enterprise customers. We’ve noticed the percentage of mobile data used on video content has increased from 5.2% to 57.4% between January and May 2016. This steep increase can be attributed mainly to the use of personal apps such as YouTube and Netflix. Streaming video over a mobile connection, particularly when employees are abroad and passing time in hotel rooms and airports, can lead to huge bill shock events and completely knock your data plan out the window.

Making data pools work

Data pools are easier to manage than individual plans, with the plan itself also being cheaper. So how can you make it work for your business?

As a first step, enterprises should look for a service that provides full visibility of employee mobile data used to identify users that consume more data than others. Gathering enough information on employee mobile data usage takes much longer than needed if done manually.

Next, enterprises should look for a service that allows employees to remain productive while reducing data spend and eliminating bill shock events. A smart corporate mobile device policy is helpful in restricting access to work-related apps and sites only when users are in certain situations such as traveling abroad or using a cellular connection.

Crystaline specialises in both of these areas to provide full visibility of mobile data usage and enable administrators to set up individual caps that can be adjusted to suit each user in the pool. So even when you move to a pooled plan, you will still have the ability to cap each individual user, and better yet, you can adjust these caps in real-time, taking data from one user and allocating to another depending on their usage. With more visibility and control, businesses make more intelligent decisions about mobile data plans and policies.


How much data do I need for Web Browsing?

The amount of data you use when surfing the information highway will vary from website to website. Naturally, image heavy websites will take a bigger toll on your cap than text only pages. In a mixed test, we found that you can expect to use somewhere around 60MB in an hour of browsing.

How much data do I need for FaceTime?

FaceTime is one of the most popular video calling apps around – mostly due to the fact its preinstalled on every iPhone – and fortunately, it doesn’t use too much data. We found you’ll tend to go through 85MB of data per hour of video call time.


How much data do I need for Facebook?

Facebook uses approximately 80MB per hour for browsing, 160MB per hour for video

When using the official Facebook app, you can expect to use around 80MB of data per hour. This is slightly more than plain old web browsing, which isn’t surprising, given how photo heavy Facebook is these days. If you’re watching video through Facebook, you data usage will jump to around 160MB per hour, which is less than what you’d use when streaming on YouTube or Netflix.

If you’re hoping to cut down on your Facebook data usage, make you can set videos to “never auto-play” under “Videos and Photos” in the settings menu.

How much data do I need for Instagram?

It might surprise you, but Instagram is probably one of the most data intensive apps you have installed on your smartphone. In our tests, we consistently burned through 60MB in around five minutes, which works out to be 720MB an hour. In fact, we were so shocked to find out how much data Instagram was wasting, we repeated our test five more times and got the exact same results.

If you’re just opening the app, quickly flipping through your timeline to see the latest photos your friends have posted, you shouldn’t use quite as much data as we did, but if you’re actively browsing Instagram checking out photos, stories, and videos, you can go through a lot of data very quickly.

How much data do I need for YouTube?

If you’re watching YouTube on your smartphone on a 3G or 4G network, you won’t have access to any quality options. This is a good thing, YouTube is looking out for you. You can expect to use around 300MB per hour of video watched.

How much data do I need for Netflix?

Netflix has three quality settings for when you’re on a mobile connection. Low will use 250MB per hour, medium will use 500MB per hour, and high will use 1GB per hour. Netflix does however let you save content to your phone for offline viewing, so if you’re worried about using too much data streaming shows on your commute, you can always download an episode or two while you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

How much data do I need for Music Streaming?

Music streaming data usage will depend on the service that you’re subscribed to. However, in most cases, you’ll never use more than 144MB, which is when you’re streaming music at 320kps (roughly 12MB a song). Spotify lets you dial down the quality to 96kpbs or 160kps, which cuts your hourly data usage to 43MB and 72MB respectively.

Apple Music only streams at a single quality – 256kps – which is equivalent to 155MB an hour.

Google Play Music tries to stream at 320kbps, but adjusts depending on the strength of your connection. If you’re getting a weak signal, you may find Play Music is using less data per song.

If you’ve got a subscription to a lossless music streaming service like Tidal, expect to use around 640MB per hour.

Most music streaming apps let you download songs to your phone, which can help in conserving data on the go.

How much data do I need for Podcasts?

As a rule of thumb, we’ve found most podcasts are approximately 1MB per minute; if you’re wanting to listen to a 40 minute podcast, expect to use about 40MB of data. This will vary depending on the exact quality the podcast has been encoded in – some podcasts are larger, some are smaller – but in general, podcasts aren’t too data intensive.

If you don’t want to use data listening to podcasts on the go, most podcasts apps will let you download episodes for future listening while you’re connected to a wireless network.

How much data do I need for App Downloads?

If you’re looking to download apps over your mobile connection, its best to check out how large the app in question is before you start installing. Both the App Store and Google Play Store show app sizes, and will give you a warning if the app you’re downloading is over a certain size.

While some apps are tiny, many day-to-day apps can demand a lot of data. The latest version of Facebook is a 170MB or so update, for example, and the latest version of Uber is around 125MB. While these won’t break your cap if you need to download an app or an update on the go, we don’t recommend doing so regularly. In most cases, we’d recommend saving app downloads and updates for when you’re on a Wi-Fi network with a larger allowance.

How to check the data usage of other apps

On an iPhone, you’ll need to reset your data usage statistics first. To do this, open the Settings app, tap Mobile, then scroll down to Reset Statistics.

After this, open the app you want to test, use it for as long as you want, then go back to ‘Mobile’ in Settings to see how much damage it’s done. If the app is using too much data, you can toggle ‘use mobile data for’ to off. If you do this, the app will only connect to the internet when you’re on a Wi-Fi network.

On an Android smartphone, open Settings, then tap Data Usage. You might not be able to reset these statistics, but you can scroll down to the app you want to monitor, make a note of the current number, then see how much more its used after you’re done testing.