Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 February 2020

Cost of 4G leads UAE mobile users to depend primarily on wifi

Residents have complained that while they would like to watch video using their 4G connections, the cost of data makes it too expensive.
Women use cell phone or mobile phone near Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi. Ryan Carter / The National
Women use cell phone or mobile phone near Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi. Ryan Carter / The National

ABU DHABI // People’s data usage habits vary but more typical, lighter users tend to use wifi when possible or avoid watching videos.

Hessa Saeed, 20, an Emirati, said she depends on wifi more to avoid running out of data.

“Instead of filling my free time with watching videos on the phone, I download books to read them in the car, for example,” she said.

“I would only watch a video using my data if someone urged me to watch it and waited for my reply or I needed it for my studies.”

Anum Rizvi, 28, a Pakistani who lives in Abu Dhabi, said she does not stream videos because it is expensive.

“Otherwise, I would use mobile data if it’s affordable,” she said.

Prices are far higher here than in Pakistan, where 3G and 4G recently launched.

“In Pakistan, you can get unlimited data for less than one dirham,” she said.

Alexis Pain, 20, a French student in Dubai, has a postpaid plan with a gigabyte of data per month.

“Sometimes it’s not enough, because I can use easily 100 megabytes in just one hour,” he said.

He uses the internet while on public transport or during his free time to watch video, check emails or look at news on social networks, he said.

“I’m usually watching some HD videos on YouTube or other streaming websites, but due to the small data allowance, when I have wifi I switch to it,” he said.

“Except if the bandwidth is slow – in this case, I keep using 4G because it is really fast.”

One heavier user of data, Abdulrahman Alnuaimi, said he has seen better deals in other parts of the region in countries such as Saudi Arabia.

“Although the network is available, the prices are so, so high compared to other countries in the region, for example, Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Mr Alnuaimi, 32, from Ajman, frequently watches videos on commutes for work.

“Every month, I download on my phone about 60 GB [of data],” he said.

He said he purchased a deal from Mobily, a subsidiary of Etisalat, in Saudi Arabia where he bought 60 GB per month for six months, for an advance payment of Dh600.

Another user who heavily relies on data, 24-year-old Ahmed Bin Al Sheikh, said he purchases a 25 GB package, mainly to watch videos.

“There were two or three months were I was extremely bored, and yes, I did run out of 25 GB,” he said. “Watching movies on YouTube – that consumes a whole lot of data.”

lcarroll@thenational.ae

Updated: January 18, 2015 04:00 AM

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