Since the liberalization of the telecom sector in Myanmar, Internet adoption in Myanmar has been massive with a double-digit penetration growth year-on-year. According to the last report from Wearesocial, 39% of Myanmar population is now using Internet on a regular basis.
Social networks have played a major role in Internet growth in Myanmar. Usual suspect: Facebook. Zuckerberg’s social network is in a very exclusive relationship with Myanmar.
Even though mobile data prices are regulated, mobile Internet in Myanmar is one of the cheapest in the world. 4G data plans are extremely affordable with an average price of 1Ks per MB.
Fixed broadband is going through a slightly different fate. The market is highly competitive, with a countless number of small ISPs fiercely competing on price. Mobile operators also stepped into the fixed broadband market and are starting to bundle mobile with fixed broadband.
Fixed broadband prices hit rock bottom last year. Since then, Myanmar ISP’s slowly pivoted to a new strategy which consists of giving more bandwidth for the same price.
The latest MPT promotion is quite representative of the new price point: Ks 39,000 per month for 10 mbps unlimited. There seems to be a consensus around this price as Yatanarpon Teleport, Netcore and Myanmar Speednet offer the same plan.
From a pure price perspective, fixed broadband in Myanmar is cheap but there is a lot of room for growth by increasing the Internet plan’s capacity and by providing value added services such as voice and TV/VoD services.
As prices go down, we could bet that the average budget spent on Internet services would decrease as well. But it is not that simple. Overall data consumption is increasing as Myanmar people develop new habits.
There has been an explosion of new localized digital services in Myanmar that push data consumption. Our entire lifestyle is slowly turning digital as we use Grab to hail a cab, Shop.com.mm to buy clothes, Yangond2d to order food or Iflix to binge watch the latest TV shows. Some of these services may be free to use, but they all consume mobile data.
So how can we save money while still embracing the digital revolution? Let’s find out.
Calculate your monthly spend
The first rule to achieve savings is plain simple: budget control.
Start by calculating how much you spend each month on Internet services.
Once you come up with a number, make sure that you always pick a monthly data plan that perfectly fits your budget. Activating small packages back to back over a month is a waste of money. The biggest the data plan is, the cheapest the rate is. So it will always be more cost effective to buy a 10 GB package than five times a 2 GB package.
Next, there is a common misconception that fixed broadband is expensive. As we stated above, the prices dropped drastically over the past few years. Fixed broadband can definitely compete with mobile broadband, especially for heavy users. If you are downloading / streaming a lot of movies or TV shows, you should seriously consider fixed broadband as a possible option to reduce your spending.
The second reason is that a fixed broadband connection can be shared within your household. Did you calculate how much your entire family spends each month on mobile data services? You may be saving a lot of money by mutualizing your budget all together.
Turn Off Facebook Video Autoplay
If you are a big fan of social networks, and I am sure you are, you may have noticed that Facebook videos auto play in your news feed. And your mobile operator is so thankful to Facebook for that.
Every time you scroll through your news feed, you are consuming your mobile data plan and the “autoplay” feature is a large piece of the cake. If you wish to save money, consider turning off Facebook autoplay. This very simple tip can make a huge difference at the end of the month.
If you are using Android or iPhone, use the tutorial below,
If you are using Facebook on your computer:
- Click this link or open Facebook, click on Settings then Video
- Find Auto-Play Videos and set the drop down button to OFF
If you are a heavy YouTube user, you can also disable auto play on the YouTube app.
Use an Internet browser that protects your online privacy
Data privacy has become a major concern for most of Internet users especially after the recent Facebook scandal. Internet users finally start to realize that there is no such thing as a free service. If you are not paying for it, it just means you are the product.
But do you know that you can protect your data privacy and save money at the same time?
Everybody knows Chrome.
Google’s browser is super fast, intuitive and easy to use despite a big tendency to use a lot of RAM.
But Google has not become one of the wealthiest companies on the planet by throwing away great services for free. Google thrives by making money on advertising and especially targeted advertising. And the fact that Google knows everything about you makes things a lot easier.
The good news is that Google browser is based on an open source project called Chromium. And it exists other Chromium-based browsers that are not interested in your user data.
One of them is called Brave
Brave is a super-fast and secured Internet browser available on Android, iOS, Linux and Windows. Brave’s strength consists on its security engine that blocks ads, scripts, trackers and forces every connection to https. This secure browser is a great choice to protect your online privacy but it also helps you to save on mobile data as all these shadow scripts and trackers consume your mobile data and Brave blocks all of them.
Migrating from Chrome to Brave is totally seamless. As both browsers are based on Chromium, the user experience is similar which makes the adoption simple and hassle free. You can also enjoy all the Chrome extensions on Brave browser.
Hunt for Wi-Fi hotspot
Nowadays, Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere. Every coffee, restaurant, library, public place runs its own Wi-Fi hotspot.
Wi-Fi hotspots are a great way to save money. And the good thing is that you only need to connect once. The next time you roam into the same location, your smartphone will automatically join the network which saves you money.
If you are connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, use this opportunity to run all your system and app updates at once. That is another way to save money. You can configure Google Play Store only to update on Wi-Fi by using the procedure below:
- In the Google Play Store app, tap the Menu icon (three bars) in the top left of your screen
- Tap Settings
- Under General, tap Auto-update apps
- Tap Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only
To find all the WiFi hotspots near you, you can use WiFi Map, an Android app showcased in one of our previous article.
If you are concerned about your security, always use a VPN service if connected to a WiFi hotspot.
Take a break!
Studies prove that starring at a bright screen before bed time disrupts your sleep. This is due to the blue light emitted by your phone or computer screen which is really close to the sunlight early morning. It gives a wrong signal to your brain: time to wake up!
Sleep disorder shall be taken seriously as it can lead to obesity and diabetes.
Therefore, a good way to save mobile data and protect your health is to take the daily habit of switching off Internet two hours before bed time. Can you do it?
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.