Since we launched NELOC Recharge in December, 2021, we have always searched for new ways to help internet users gain value for every kobo spent online. This is why we have compiled this article to explain different recommended ways that will help you manage and maximise your internet data bundle effectively.

How to Maximise Mobile Internet Data

First, let's examine a few reasons why your phone consumes so much data.


1. Your Phone is 4G

If your phone is 4G, there's a speed level that makes browsing faster than normal. The faster it is, the faster your data balance goes low.

2. Opening Multiple Browser tabs

When you are browsing, you may have up to 10 or 20 tabs open in your browser. These tabs always auto-update whether you are using them or not. So, it is advised that you close browser tabs when you are not using them.

3. Whatsapp Status and Stickers

This may seem really insignificant, but Whatsapp, like many other mobile apps consumes data, especially if you love checking statuses and downloading stickers. In our article on top

In October 2019, Nairametrics made a report MTN reveals why its data get exhausted faster as it loses over 600,000 subscribers to rivals

MTN Nigeria, MTN gives update on USSD charge controversy, MTN’s never-ending $2 billion tax case has a new court date , BREAKING: MTN unveil 5G Network in Nigeria , Vector, some Nigerians pick holes in MTN's data charges

MTN Nigeria has revealed how an upgrade in its system is causing mobile data of its internet subscribers to get exhausted fast. The revelation was made after a Nairametrics report disclosed that MTN Nigeria lost 664,245 Internet subscribers as rivals, Airtel and Visafone gained more.

MTN Nigeria is the largest telecommunications company in Nigeria but other network providers have continued to gain more ground against the yellow telco. In July 2019, MTN Nigeria had 52.2 million internet subscribers but the number of its data users dropped in August.

Nairametrics had reported that the number of MTN Nigeria’s internet users dropped to 51.6 million in August. That’s a loss of 664,245 Internet subscribers according to the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Reaction trails users exit: The report by Nairametrics drew reactions from MTN Nigeria’s users who condemned the rate of depletion of data by the company, while some identified themselves as some of the internet subscribers that port to other networks.

They're undermining the intelligence of their product consumers. Failing to integrate their business with the customers And thus customer's satisfaction is no longer key. Audience intelligence should never ever be taken lightly. Profit ahead of Purpose and People=business failure

— Thamsanqa Naphakade (@Thami_Naps) October 8, 2019

@MTNNG data is methylated spirit.

I have experienced peace with @AirtelNigeria

— Ohen Kay (@ohenkay) October 8, 2019

Reason for data depletion: While the reason for quick exhaustion of data has left many users in the dark, MTN Nigeria responded to a Nairametrics reader, Ulayefa Orubu, who tweeted with the Twitter handle @macheteros, “@MTN180 una dey see so? Your data doesn’t last at all…it’s sort of how fuel evaporates when it comes in contact with air.”

Internet users

Reacting to his enquiry, MTN Nigeria disclosed that an upgrade in its internet speed was the cause for the quick exhaustion of data. the improved internet speed over 3G and 4G actually affects data depletion rate.”

Your data doesn’t last at all…it’s sort of how fuel evaporates when it comes in contact with air.

The joy of an internet surfer is fast internet. However, a fast internet comes at a price according to MTN Nigeria. The faster your internet network is, the faster your data gets exhausted. This means you can’t have your cake and eat it.

There’s a side effect: Internet users are seeking a balance – fast internet with a low depletion rate. MTN Nigeria’s method is like informing a caller that the more you call, the more charges you get. That era of overcharging callers on voice calls has long gone, so, it’s time for MTN Nigeria to give its internet subscribers the satisfaction they desire or they will be seeking that from other networks.


MTN will always give excusess,the same old story with your per sec bill policy, you told us then it would take years to get that not until Glo came along and within months you guys were offering the same services. Once my data is exhausted, am leaving you guys for good, migrating to a more customers friendly network.

One thing you can not take away from MTN is that they have a very reliable internet data speed that allows one to surf the net with ease. With MTN network you can access various sites and download files with good speed, something that is lacking in other networks. It’s difficult for you to have data and not able to enjoy good internet speed if you are using MTN. There is no dull moment in speed unlike what obtains with Airtel, Glo, 9mobile and Vodafone.

I was initially doing 1.5G/mnthandit’ll last for a month. Sometime may exhaust few days before the month runs out. Now I do 4G and it gets exhausted writing 2weeks. I now do monthly sub 2times every month. That is different from the one I subscribes for my office use.
The claim by MTN that the quick depletion of data is due to the fast internet does NOT suffice at all. So, why are other networks like 9mobile and Airtel with good internet speed not depleting as yours?

Very annoying. Infact am going to get an Airtel Sim. I can’t take this anymore. How can I use 1.5g plus bonus in less than 2 days for doing nothing. Sometimes I won’t even use my data and before u know it, it’s gone. When I called 180, I was told that it’s an application I opened which was a fat lie.

Why You Should Stop Using MTN Midnight Data - Phones - Nairaland

I lost almost not less than 300mb data.

The way they deduct the data is ambiguous. From my calculations, all what I've downloaded isn't more than 400mb; just 6 videos that are an average of 40mb. Then I updated three apps from playstore; 9mb, 12mb and 22mb.

But look, I have just 500mb left. This is freaking crazy.


mtn dey wicked, I don't do night plan with my mtn sim until I drain my entire main data. I think that is the best option. To avoid all this thier illegal deduction

What you guys don't realise is that MTN is very trickish and deceptive, so you have to use your head when dealin with thing to do is use another network for your main monthly Subscription and use them only for night plan, since i discovered that this is what they do, I don't do night sub when i already have an existing sub, so i just sub with my 9mobile and browse during the day , then i Switch over to night sub on MTN and use it at night.


This has been going on for awhile now. If you use the same sim for your normal sub and night plan mtn will not deduct the night plan,

MTN is a very terrible network provider, I was angry the night this same shit Happened to me and even more angry when the customer care representative had to hang the call on me... I felt embarrassed, it was obvious they did it intentionally... MTN is devilish, now my AIRTEL sim does the midnight work, I'm cool.

But come to think of what they take us for, They were so sure that nobody is gonna protect the right of we consumers and so they can do and undo... I'm sure they dare not try that in saner climes.... Being a Nigerian is not cool at all... If saying that is a sin, May God forgive me.


next time ,switch off your data, or put ur fone in flight mode, wait for 30sec switch off flight mode and enjoy ur midnight data thing to do is use another network for your main monthly Subscription and use them only for night plan, since i discovered that this is what they do, I don't do night sub when i already have an existing sub, so i just sub with my 9mobile and browse during the day , then i Switch over to night sub on MTN and use it at night.

I already decided not to use their sim for midnight data again but tonight I got uncomfortable with removing sim every night.

  1. Switch off your data
  2. Put ur fone in flight mode or turn it off for about 30sec 
  3. Switch off flight mode or turn on your phone and enjoy ur midnight data
Please report them to NCC. If you want something done. All of you that have experienced this have to simultaneously report to the relevant agencies. You can contact the NCC toll free number via 0800-CALL NCC (0-800-2255 622) or you can also fill a complaint form online here ==>


Chai! Me i normally use night plan when I have no data at all. This is the best option.

I use a different sim entirely for night plan, I no wan hear anything


You will need to have at least contacted MTN, only if they fail to resolve the issue do you contact the NCC.


Sometimes you would subscribe for d night plan, they'll deduct but it won't even browse, and don't even bother with NCC I think they are being settled by dis network providers, we are living in a failed country sadly

That is the issue you are having,switch off and on before using the night subscription.

Okay then I'll give it a try. Anticipate my feedback.


You can either call the NCC with this toll free number 0800-CALL NCC (0-800-2255 622) or fill a complaint form online here.  Before you do this, please know that you must have at least contacted your network provider, only if they fail to resolve the issue do you contact the NCC.

I didn't read the last sentence before. So, it's if they fail to resolve it. Aren't they supposed to make refunds? Or my data has gone down the drain just like that.

Actually, I don't need their refund but I fear that if we don't put them on their toes for small things like this, they may get used it and even commit greater ones. Let alone this could happen to someone who spent his/her last card to purchase data for a very important purpose.

It's a very useless network . The worst part is the 500mb midnight plan is actually 420mb. After you use 360mb, mtn will automatically disconnect your network and throttle the speed. So you will have to connect and disconnect to use the remaining 60mb.


Me just dey arrange my own wait Airtel and their disturbing text messages even after joint do not disturb.. Glo worse, but I nor plan kill indigenous company..

This is confirmed. I subscribed your 1.5GB every two days. Was worried why 1.5GB will finish within 2days not knowing it's from night plan. One of those nights I did the night plan again, so I decided to check my balance around 4:30am, guess what? My 1.5 is remaining 500+ while my night bundle is still 500MB nothing was deducted, and this has been happening almost a week before I noticed, just like a user suggested, it's better you get a SIM without any subscription for the night plan.

It's a common thing for MTN. Recently, I did a 2000 for 9GB plan for monthly usage, then I subscribed for the night plan to download some few videos. Surprisingly, everything I downloaded was deducted from the main plan and the Night bundle wasn't touched at all. That's one of the reasons I don't even use any sim I'm having monthly sub on for night plan. I just made a mistake that night

The last time I did the MTN night plan, they deducted my main 2gb data before deducting the night plan. So basically now I use Airtel for night plan because I can get 1.2gb in a night, unlike Mtn's 500mb.


Five ways to make your mobile data last longer

“By following these tips, we hope that smartphone users can make sure that they will never run out of data, allowing them to save money and make the most of what their phone has to offer.”

Our monthly data allowance isn’t infinite, and with movies to stream, music to download, and social media to surf, it can be easy to burn through our allowance in no time at all.

To help combat the dreaded data drain, here are five handy tips to make your data go further each month.

Change your social media settings

Scrolling through social media may be a great way to pass the time, but it can be one of the biggest drains on our data, thanks to the video-heavy content.

Videos on Facebook and Instagram are set to auto-play by default so even if you don’t stop to watch the videos, data is being used to buffer them. This can be changed in the settings of both of the apps.

To stop videos playing automatically on Facebook select Menu > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Media and Contacts > Videos and photos and set ‘Auto-play- to ether ‘On Wi-Fi Connections Only’ or ‘Never Auto-play Videos’. To do this on Instagram tap onto your profile then go to Menu > Settings > Mobile Data Use and enable ‘Use Less Data’.

Turn off push notifications

Push notifications may not be the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to limiting your data consumption, but it’s a small change which can certainly make a difference. Some apps use data to send notifications to your device, so it’s worth turning these off for apps you don’t use frequently to cut back on the data being used.

To turn off push notifications on an iPhone go to Settings > Notifications and select the apps you want to disallow notifications for.

To do disable push notifications on an Android device select Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications. Under ‘Recently sent’ you’ll find a list of apps that have recently sent notifications where you can turn off all notifications for specific apps.

Download content on Wi-Fi

Restricting your usage doesn’t mean you have to go without your favourite podcasts, songs or TV shows. Make the most of your Wi-Fi connection and download content to enjoy offline when you’re out and about.

Going offline doesn't mean an end to your streaming services either. Both Spotify and Apple Music allow you to download music to your device to enjoy offline, and watching TV won’t be a problem too thanks to Netflix’s download capabilities

If you’re a fan of podcasts and an iPhone user, simply tap on the + icon next to a podcast while connected to Wi-Fi and it will be downloaded to your phone.

Restrict background data

Even when you’re not using your device, your apps eat away at your allowance by reloading in the background, with social media and news apps taking the biggest chunk of our data.

Although having updated apps may be convenient, the continuous, automated refreshing means that this is one of the worst culprits for both a battery and data drain. Luckily, there’s an easy way to reduce this activity and save on your usage. Here’s how:

Restrict background activity on iPhone:

Open Settings, go to General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh and choose either ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘Off’.

Restrict background activity on Android:

Go to Settings > Select Data Usage > Cellular Data Usage. Tap on the app you want to stop using background data and disable ‘Background data’.

Keep an eye on your usage

It may sound obvious, but keeping tabs on your data usage is essential if you often run short. Most networks come with their own app where you can monitor your allowance and see when it will be refreshed. This is particularly helpful for budgeting your data and ensuring you stay under your limit.

Cutting down on unnecessary data usage is a great way to make sure you will always have enough to do the things you really want to do with your allowance.

“By following these tips, we hope that smartphone users can make sure that they will never run out of data, allowing them to save money and make the most of what their phone has to offer.”


Why your data bundle finishes quickly and what you can do about it

The rise of smartphones and several Internet-enabled devices have made Internet data bundles an important part of daily life. As some conversations online would suggest, data usage for most Nigerians increased during the lockdown.

In recent years, several service providers have repeatedly lowered the cost of data bundles in their ever-raging data wars. However, there have been a number of complaints since these bundles no longer last as long as they once did.

In August 2019, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, charged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to investigate what consumers deemed illegal data deductions.

Nine months later, the regulatory body has given no sanction regarding issues of data depletion, and according to its recent report, there’s been a recent surge in complaints of rapid data depletion during the lockdown.

Using insights from the NCC and a telecom expert, we look at some pressing questions regarding data usage.

How does my network provider calculate the data I use?

The rate of data depletion is heavily dependent on the kind of Internet activity we engage in. Regardless of your service provider, some Internet activities will definitely consume more data than others.

All interactions on the Internet have varying sizes of data they consume. From emails of about 4KB to high definition movie files of 4GB and above.

“All exchanges, transfers, and receiving of files are calculated and deducted from the available data balance in your data subscription. This is done in real-time and therefore makes it easy to develop a habit of monitoring one’s consumption patterns,” he says.

Based on information from network operators, the NCC gives the following data usage estimates on what an hour’s usage will cost during any of these activities.

  • 1 hour of social media – 200mb
  • 1 hour of browsing – 60mb
  • 1 hour of instant messaging with video calls – 140mb
  • 1 hour of streaming music – 60mb
  • 1 hour of streaming videos – 350mb (non-HD) and 1GB (HD)
  • 1 email sent or received with attachments – 500kb (This will depend on the size of the attachment)
  • 1 minute of connected gameplay – 60mb

So, does switching off my network help to save my data? No, if the right precautions are not taken.

It is highly unlikely for a mobile phone to consume data while it is offline, but the case could be different when it is inactive.

“If the phone is inactive (your data is on, but not in use), the device might be constantly monitoring the Internet for updates and notifications such as location information, application upgrades, email and social media notifications, that will definitely consume your data subscription,” he says.

Even if you disable your Internet for a long time, these updates and notifications will kick-in immediately when you turn on your data. This will load the backlog of updates and notifications you missed while you were offline and still consume a huge chunk of your data bundle.

As the best course of action, Akosionu advises that automatic updates and notifications are disabled and that mobile data is turned off when the device is not in use.

Streaming or downloading, which consumes more data?

Netflix share 1

Neither of them, it all depends on your preference.

With the popularity of streaming platforms like Deezer, Apple Music, YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime comes the question, will I save my data when I download or should I stream directly? The NCC advises you to download.

However, for the same file, there should be no difference in data consumption. However,  one could perceive lower data usage while streaming since streaming service providers typically offer compressed formats of a particular image, audio, or video file.

By default, platforms like Deezer (music) or YouTube (videos) automatically adjust your streaming quality based on the strength of your network, but they can be manually adjusted to low, normal, or high quality, depending on your preference.

If you watch ten minutes of a one-hour video on YouTube, you will only be charged for those ten minutes. However, with downloads, you have to wait for the video to download completely before you watch it.

On the other hand, if you want to stream a video again, you have to bear the data costs, but a downloaded video can be rewatched several times, without having to use the Internet.

Kindly note that Youtube renews its downloaded videos every 48 hours, while Netflix typically expires within 48 hours to 7 days. In general, the same amount of data is consumed when streaming or downloading a particular file.

Uploading or downloading, which consumes more data?

In principle, network operators charge the same for upload and downloads, but since the network system is designed to favour downloads, there’s no telling if deductions could also be made to favour downloads.

Generally, more users download content online than they upload, so most network providers design the system to facilitate faster downloads. This then makes uploading content i.e an email attachment or WhatsApp status, relatively slower than downloading them.

Does the browser I use affect my data?

Yes, it does.

Websites with lots of pictures, videos, or graphics will consume more data than those without. Web browsers help us surf the Internet and as they greatly affect your browsing experience.

Some popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, UC Browser, and Opera Mini come with in-built data savers. By default, browsers like UC Browser and, to a large extent, Opera Mini, greatly tone down the flashiness of your webpage and might save you a lot of data.

Does 4G consume more data than 3G or 2G?


No, it doesn’t.

However, if you live in any of Nigeria’s major cities, and your phone is 4G-enabled, and you may have noticed your data finishing a lot faster. In reality, the amount of data used did not change, but the speed with which it was used changed.

As Akosionu explains, the G in 2G, 3G, and 4G show significant improvements in Internet speeds and responsiveness. It, therefore, implies that it will take a shorter time to transfer files of the same size using a 4G network compared to 3G and 2G.

So if it takes two hours to download a 2GB movie on a 3G network, it might take just twenty minutes on a 4G network. So your 4G network will not use more than 2GB, but it will use it in twenty minutes instead of two hours on a 3G network.

To preserve that idea of conserved data, you could decide to switch your phone’s network permanently to 3G or 2G.

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Are unlimited plans really unlimited?

No, most unlimited plans are not really unlimited.

James*, a bemused Internet user, reveals that the first time he subscribed to an unlimited plan was with his Blackberry Bold 5 in 2012. Then, he could browse the Internet to his heart’s content, and his data plan wouldn’t get exhausted.

“When I subscribed to an unlimited plan on my Android phone, it stopped browsing after two weeks. Since then, I’ve shied away from unlimited plans,” he laments.

Several service providers offer unlimited plans and heavy Internet users hope it won’t get exhausted before the expected date. But there are usually terms and conditions attached.

Akosionu reveals that it is worth checking the details behind every unlimited plan as, in most instances, there would be two caps (limits) on its usage.

The first is the speed cap, where your Internet speed is greatly reduced (the industry term is throttled) after you’ve consumed a certain amount of data, while the second is the disconnection cap where your phone stops browsing.

Why does my data deplete fast when I turn on my hotspot?

This is caused by automatic updates on your PC or your friends smartphone.

When you turn on your hotspot for your friend’s smartphone or connect to your PC, you might find your data dropping rapidly.

For the former, most background data, including software upgrades, automatic app updates, and others are set to only work with Wi-Fi.

Also, most PCs, especially those running on Windows 10, are usually set to automatically download Windows updates. You can stop this by setting your Wi-Fi hotspot as a metered connection.

You can set this by going to settings — Network and Internet — Wi-Fi — click on your hotspot name, scroll down and tick “Set as metered connection”.

What popular apps consume data even without your knowledge?


Several popular apps in your phone are major culprits of background data usage. As long as your Internet connection is on, these apps will keep working. As explained earlier, when you switch off your data, they’ll only be on pause until the next time you turn it on.

These apps include but are not limited to:

WhatsApp: Automatically downloads audio, pictures, and videos from all your contacts and group conversations even when you don’t open them. You can stop this by going to settings — data and storage usage — then set media auto-download to “no media” when on mobile data.

Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok: These have lots of pictures and they automatically play videos as you scroll through your feeds. You can also disable the autoplay feature here and limit background data usage.

Facebook and Twitter: Again, autoplay of video content is also the culprit here.

YouTube and Netflix: You can reduce the streaming quality on these platforms to save data, especially when your network is fast.

Why does bonus data not last long?

It depends on your network operator.

Like bonus airtime, bonus data seems to get exhausted easily, compared to your normal data subscriptions. Recall that with bonus airtime, the per-second billings are usually significantly higher than normal airtime.

You should also make sure to check the terms and conditions behind each bonus data, which might include higher billings. Sometimes, your bonus data might expire before the main data, at other times, you might need to exhaust the main data before you can use the bonus, or it could be tied to the 4G network only.

In these instances, you could find your service provider deducting from your normal data before your bonus, or you can’t browse when you switch to the 3G or 2G network.

How to conserve data?

As you may have observed, you consume more data when you watch videos, play games, or leave apps running in the background.

For these apps, you can disable background data by going to Settings > Apps and notifications > Select App > Select Disable Background Data.

If you like to watch videos or listen to songs repeatedly, downloading might be better for you. If not, you could reduce your streaming quality and watch/listen to your heart’s content.

Always use a data saver with your browser or preferably, browsers like Opera Mini that render less flashy web pages which could serve you better when trying to conserve data.

Also, when turning on your Wi-Fi hotspot for a friend’s smartphone, make sure all automatic updates over Wwi-Fi are turned off. For your PC, your Wi-Fi should be set as a metered connection.

So what can I do about it?

If you still notice unusual data activity with your network providers, you should call them on their toll-free customer service shortcodes: ​9mobile – 200; Airtel – 111; Globacom – 121; and MTN – 180​.

If you’re not satisfied with your service provider, you can contact the NCC through their various channels. You can use their call toll-free line (622) or send an email to You can also reach out to the NCC on Twitter, Instagram – @ngrcomcommission or Facebook

Be sure to include your trouble ticket – NCC will then take the matter up with the network service provider to ensure a speedy resolution.