Data plans have seamlessly integrated into our daily routines, mirroring the internet’s transformation into a parallel world that now connects over five billion devices and users. Whether you’re leisurely scrolling through social media, indulging in your favorite shows via streaming, or diligently working from a remote location, the necessity of securing an access to a reliable and affordable data plan is essential.
In a more recent article, we provided seven (7) best tips and practices that will help you prevent overage data charges, we also discussed what happens behind the scenes before an internet eligible device could connect to the internet.
This article will provide a full explanation of what data plans are, the various types available, and guidance on how to choose the perfect data plan that fits your needs.
What are Data Plans?
Data plans are subscription-based service offered by mobile network providers or internet service providers that allows users to access the internet and utilize data-consuming applications on their devices. These plans come with a specific allocation of data, often measured in gigabytes (GB) or megabytes (MB), which users can use for various online activities like web browsing, streaming content, and using social media.
Types of Data Plans
The following are the types of data plans available in the telecom market. We will explained each of them with examples.
- Prepaid Data Plans
- Postpaid Data Plans
- Unlimited Data Plans
- Family Data Plans
1. Prepaid Data Plans
As the name implies, Prepaid plans allow users to pay for a fixed amount of data i.e your internet service provider (ISP) allocate a bundle portion and set how much its customers buys them. These plans are popular for their flexibility, as they typically don’t require a long-term contract. They are the most purchased Data plans in the market. Users can top up their data as needed, making it an ideal choice for those who want control over their spending.
Types of Prepaid Data Plans
There are several different kinds of prepaid data plans available in telecom, but we are only going to discuss briefly four (4) of them. Listed below…
- Data-only plans
- Combo plans
- Social Bundles
- SME Bundles
These plans are designed primarily for data usage and do not include voice minutes or text messages. They are popular for tablets, mobile hotspots, and data-only devices such as mifi or Router.
See examples of data only-plans in the table below ranging from as low as ₦50 to ₦100000 for all Nigerian telco companies. Note that each telco company has its unique data allocation and prices for her customers.
MTN data plans
Airtel Data Plans
9mobile Data Plans
|1||N50||50MB/5MB night plan|
|1||N100||150MB/35MB night plan|
|2||N200||350MB/110 night plan|
|14||N500||1.8GB/1GB night plan|
|30||N1000||3.9GB/2GB night plan|
|30||N1500||7.5GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N2000||9.2GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N2500||10.8GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N3000||14GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N4000||18GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N5000||24GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N8000||29.5GB/2GB night plan|
|30||N10,000||50GB/4GB night plan|
|30||N15,000||93GB/7GN night plan|
|30||N18,000||119GB/10GB night plan|
|30||N20,000||138GB/12GB night plan|
Unlike other Nigerian telecommunication network providers, GLO’s data bundles are divided into two categories: day and night. For example, if you purchase 1.8GB of data for N500, you can browse during the day while 1GB is only available from midnight (12AM) to 5AM
Combo data plans known to Airtel, 9mobile, and Globacom as data+ or voice+ bundles, More flex, and super value pack are mobile phone plans that include a combination of services such as data, voice minutes, and text messages (if available) in a single package. These plans offer convenience and often cost savings compared to purchasing each service separately.
See examples in the table below!
Combo plans varies. Some may either have higher data allocation than voice or higher voice than data.
Social bundles are data packages offered by telecommunications providers that are specifically designed for social media usage. These bundles typically provide data access to popular social media platforms and apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and snapchat at a reduced cost or as an add-on to an existing mobile plan. Users can access these platforms without consuming their regular data allowances.
Small & Medium Enterprise
SME data plan is a specific data plan or package offered by a telecommunications or internet service provider (ISP) that is designed to cater to the needs of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). These data plans are tailored to suit the requirements of businesses in terms of data usage, reliability, and pricing. You can buy SME bundles from third party VTU apps.
2. Postpaid Data Plans
Postpaid plans involve a monthly subscription with a set amount of data. Users are invoiced subsequent to their monthly data utilization. These plans often offer more data at a lower cost per gigabyte compared to prepaid plans, making them suitable for heavy data users.
3. Unlimited Plans
Unlimited data plans, as the name suggests, offer unlimited data usage. However, there may be fair usage policies that slow down data speeds after a certain threshold is reached. These plans are excellent for users who consume a lot of data but require a reliable connection.
4. Family Plans
Family plans allow multiple users within the same household to share a pool of data. This can be cost-effective for families with multiple smartphones or devices.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing A Mobile Data Plan
You do not just rush to subscribe a data bundle. You first sit down and think of Data plans that fits your style. Below are the factors you should consider before any data plan purchase…
- Data Allocation/Allowance: Consider your data usage patterns. Users that do not use the internet much may be satisfied with a smaller data plan, while heavy internet users may require unlimited or high-capacity plans.
- Contract Type: Determine whether you prefer a prepaid plan without a long-term commitment or a postpaid plan with a monthly billing cycle.
- Coverage: Ensure that your chosen provider offers good coverage in your area, especially if you rely on mobile data for work or personal use.
- Pricing: Compare pricing structures, including monthly fees, overage charges, and any additional features like international roaming or tethering.
- Add-Ons: Some Network providers offer extras like free streaming subscriptions, or data rollover. Evaluate these extras based on your needs.
Data plans are the gateway to the digital world, providing us with access to information, entertainment, and communication. To make the most of your online experience, it’s essential to choose a data plan that aligns with your usage habits and budget. If you consider the factors listed earlier in this article such as data allowance, type of data purchased, network coverage, and the rest of it, you can find the perfect plan to keep you connected in our data-driven age. Remember, the right data plan not only saves you money but also enhances your digital lifestyle.