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Low usage

CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
Thanks: 2
Registered: 16-09-2010

Low usage

Are there any low internet users here? How much do you typically use in a month?
We are looking to gift an internet connection to a relative for Christmas. They are new to the Internet, and have an older Apple laptop. There are two main options:
1) a Mifi device from Three, offering 12GB over 12 months on a PAYG basis.
2) a monthly contract from Plusnet or TalkTalk
The Mifi, although less offering significantly less data allowance, is the least disruptive, since all of the good deals on broadband require moving the phone over from BT.
Can you really get by on effectively 1GB/month?
10 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,836
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Low usage

Initially, I would think, the 1GB per month would be "adequate"... as being "newbies" to the internet, they would be "frightened" of using it.... as they gain more confidence, and find new things they can do with it, they will, inevitably, use more.... This might be in two or three months .... or maybe even a year.... !  try to think back to when you first got the internet, and how you felt about using it.... then compare that to your relative, and their lifestyle, and how they would use it....
Thunderclap
Grafter
Posts: 673
Registered: 08-09-2008

Re: Low usage

Quote from: CX
Can you really get by on effectively 1GB/month?

Yes you can. Using the internet for email and basic surfing - train times, theatre bookings, weather, family history - burns up to a gig a month ( if you have teenagers on your home netwrok you'll know that 10 gig a week is not enough ). IMHO for low web usage, the pay as you go 12 or 3 month SIMs from Three represtent the best value for money, versus flexibility.
For a MiFi device, I recommend the factory unlocked TP-Link M5350, as it can be used on any network and internationally - like Spain. However, it needs charging so, if your user is always using the same fixed point, get a USB modem stick instead.
My tip for shaving data usage is to install an ad-blocking plugin on the user browser and disable all of that Adobe Flash bloat. And then set updates to 'inform me but do not download them'.
Cool
redsetter
Grafter
Posts: 76
Registered: 12-05-2013

Re: Low usage

12gb over a year is not sufficient,a low user could use nearly that in a month.internet usage has a habit of creeping up over time.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,923
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Low usage

I used to consider myself a heavy user - plenty of googling, email checking etc and yet whenever I've used my 3 dongle, I've never used more than my 1GB in a month.
Now clearly if I got into gaming, downloading huge files, streaming video, that would be different. Infact when I listened to the streaming radio I expected to find I'd used more than normal and in reality I think I used something like 40-50MB more that day than I normally would (no idea how as i had it playing for hours lol).
If it's only internet surfing and not gaming, videos etc, 1GB is plenty. Even avast coped with it when doing auto updates.
If you were going to consider a plusnet connection / contract, why not get mifi on contract instead? - You'll get more bandwidth for it. I almost did this a few years about (then work went south) but they offered 15GB a month on 3 for a contract of £15 per month (I think) whereas I was spending £15 on PAYG for 3GB (which as stated above was utterly wasted lol)
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,586
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: Low usage

I am a HEAVY user, yet when on holiday I used a 3 dongle with no problems. They will not be downloading lots of movies or trailers etc, IF they go over then they can top up easily at any supermarket.
Go for the 3g option IF it works in the house, check first.
hmarshy
Grafter
Posts: 135
Registered: 09-08-2010

Re: Low usage

1GB/month is not enough, it works out at approx 34MB/day, my computer can easily use that just getting the latest software updates. So you would hit your daily limit before surfing the Internet.
As a minimum you should look at 2GB/month, but I think PN's 10GB package is perfect for low usage.
CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Low usage

Thanks for all your views.
I suppose the thing that puts us off Plusnet is the requirement to take out their phone service too, and loss of trust with respect to pricing. £8.49 for a basic broadband-only service with a 10GB/month cap, and charging a further £25 activation fee, when the same can be offered for £5.99 when taking out the phone too. How do Plusnet justify charging broadband-only customers more? It isn't LLU when taking out phone too is it?
Sure, the total cost for 12 months, even without taking out phone, is equivalent to 12 months of 3G Mifi, and an order of magnitude more data allowance. (didn't take into accout additional set up fees) But how do we know Plusnet aren't going to put the prices up part-way through the year?
Thunderclap
Grafter
Posts: 673
Registered: 08-09-2008

Re: Low usage

Quote from: CX
How do Plusnet justify charging broadband-only customers more?

That's a good question CX. One only Bob Pullen can answer?? As for price rises, I suspect they will rise again with twelve months.
With respect to PAYG sim contracts, they are ideal for people who don't need broadband. Not everyone is a power user with 24-7 BT sport and Twittering. Maybe start your relative on a 3GB/90 day SIM and see how data they really eat?
A MiFi device is transportable too, so they won't pay those rip-off hotel wifi rates. However, MiFi devices need recharging. For daily use, best to get a 3G USB stick which plugs into the computer.
If you're feeling adventurous, you can use the 3G USB stick to build your relative a hybrid 3G wifi enabled network using something like the 'Zoom 3G/4G Wireless-N Desktop Router'. 
Cool
CX
Grafter
Posts: 745
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Re: Low usage

Good call. I wasn't aware of that limitation of MiFi devices, and having checked I see that some of them have been confirmed to not function as a hotspot whilst charging.
Does anyone have experience of the bog-standard Huawei E5331/E5332 and whether or not it works whilst plugged into charge?
I already have a 3G USB stick, currently unused, but the age of the Apple laptop is going to be an issue with anything connected directly. It runs OS X 10.3.something, PowerPC G3 processor and only 384MB RAM, and virtually nothing offers support for 10.3 now whereas wi-fi is easy.
Thunderclap
Grafter
Posts: 673
Registered: 08-09-2008

Re: Low usage

Quote from: CX
Does anyone have experience of the bog-standard Huawei E5331/E5332 and whether or not it works whilst plugged into charge?

I just asked someone whose owns a 5331 and they said it works with the charger plugged in but, they're not sure if it charges. Go figure.
Using WiFi is the way ahead. I loath installing modem software, especially Vodafone's incarnations/incinerations of mobile connect. Anyway, a wifi hotspot gives similcast connections for laptops and Kindles, etc.
As said before, you can use the dongle to create a wireless hotspot by plugging the 3G USB stick into a 3G wireless desktop router. It's a bit more complex to set up but, the user support will be much easier - in theory. And being 'always on', a lot more stable.
To illustate, this 3G wireless router from TP-Link ( available in the UK ) can be used to do that
http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?model=TL-MR3220