Smart Always On: The Daily Stress Test

Smart Always On: The Daily Stress Test

For the past 5 days I have been actively testing Smart’s new Always On plans that offer bucket-pricing which charges by the volume of bandwidth consumed. Here’s my personal observation of that test.

For this experiment, I limited my mobile internet usage to the basic apps I normally use:

– Twitter
– FourSquare
– GMail
– Google+

(Note: I’m not really a huge FaceBook user except when maintaining the blog’s fan page so I don’t access it from the phone a lot. Of course, I still get FB email notifications thru GMail.) These apps are my most frequently used apps so the results will be heavily dependent on my lifestyle.

My data usage is as follows:

Note as well that data usage for uploads are logged and included in your Always On allocation. My testing and observations can be summarized with this simple FAQ:

How did you measure your usage?

I downloaded and installed 3G Watchdog on my Android phone. I would also request for SMS updates on how much bandwidth the system has logged against my allocation.

How long are you on 3G?

I used a dedicated Android device to run Twitter, FourSquare, GMail and Google+ during the entire testing period. The device is on 3G 24-hours a day. I also subscribed to Always On 20 which is Php20 for 25MB of bandwidth for 24 hours.

How active are you with using those apps?


If you follow me on Twitter, Google+ or FourSquare, you’d see I’m an average user (I don’t really consider myself a heavy user). Nevertheless, since the apps I used are running 24/7 in the background and constantly downloading status updates, I think I’m fairly on the average spectrum.

Did you ever exceeded the daily bandwidth allocation?

Not once. Sometimes, when I see that the expiration is near and my consumption is still below the quota, I would fire up some other apps (like YouTube, Maps or the browser) just to see how many MB that short activity would consume. Google Maps would eat up like 1MB just to show you your current location on the map; the front-page of YugaTech is also around 1MB to 2MB, depending on the banner ads that show up with it. A single YouTube stream can eat up between 1MB to 5MB.

So what is it good for?

Smart Always On is best for social networking apps like Twitter and FourSquare. It’s even good with GMail too but that will somehow depend on the volume of attachments you get on a daily basis. I think you can also add in Facebook and Google+ into the mix safely.

How about the other apps and mobile activities?

Frankly, I don’t see this being usable with web-browsing (even if it’s just mobile web). Imagine, loading the home page of this blog will already use up 1.9MB.

Other smartphone apps that will easily eat up your allocation are Google Maps, YouTube, DropBox. I don’t even recommend opening up the Android Market and downloading any apps when you’re on Always On (I suggest doing that via WiFi instead).

What’s the catch?

The only issue I think that they need to address (and I’ve talked to the Smart guys there about this) is the automatic switching of the internet billing to Php10 per 30 minutes once the Always On plan expires.

This happened to me when I was subscribed to the daily plan. Was asleep the whole morning and my plan had expired for several hours before I woke up and discovered it. I ended up being charged something like Php50 because of the switch to Php10/30 minute billing. I’d call this a minor bill-shock.

I suggested to Smart they provide an option for subscribers to disable mobile internet once the plan expires so there’s no way you get charged after that.

I think my sweet spot for Smart’s Always On would be the Php300 for 30 days with a 250MB allocation. If you’re just on Twitter, Gmail and FourSquare on your smartphone, this goes down to just Php10/day for 30 days. Will try that next time and update this post.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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36 Responses

  1. Cocopako says:

    Subscribe na ako sa always on 300, ang di lang malinaw sa akin is the speed, gano ba kabilis eto?

  2. fr0stbyte says:

    Tip: Load the map of the area you’re in unto Google Maps before you go outand use it. Also don’t use the satelitte layer ala Google Earth.

  3. Name: IC DeaDPiPoL says:

    tried ON 30 = 50mb / 1 day

    -battery issues
    -speed is identical with regular access
    -used with fb, browser, foursquare, and downloading 3G Watchdog from the market
    -left it while on break and was shocked it consumed around 8-12mb already (probably due to my IM client (2 MSNs) News Widget, Gmail autosyncs, fb widget
    -made a mistake since I though ON 30 = 30mb only, was able to consume around 25mb

    -on the 2nd day went casual fb, fb/browser, and news browsing and hit around 11mb only

    With a day at the mall I’d probably stick with P30

  4. William T says:

    As stated, this is really for casual users, and really limits the ‘smart’ in smartphone. One of the joy of using a smartphone is accessing the web anywhere with a pretty decent browser, and this type of plan really are not suited for that. Yes, most people can live with limiting their usage, but then you are not using your expensive Galaxy or iPhone to it’s full potential. I subscribe to their 500MB/month plan and regretted almost immediately – yes, I manage to limit usage but then my apps don’t get updated as often, so that potentially leaves security holes on my Android phone (yes, it’s theoretical).

    And these P30 after limit from Smarty should really get a reprimand from the NTC, it’s a cheap way to make money off the customers. At least, Globe has the decency to send you an SMS reminding you that your Supersurf had expired… Smart, nothing – even in Unlisurf, you just found that you have zero load when you need to make an important call. Really, a cash grab if I saw one…

    Do Smart still offer their old P50 Unlisurf?

  5. That’s also my question. The battery life of the phone. How can you leave your phone for 24 hours and connected to 3g!?

  6. kyle says:

    This sucks! yeah you can save money but you just killed the beauty of bucket pricing on this one because of expiration dates. You purchased the 250mb bandwidth then you have the right to fully consume it.

  7. rob says:

    “The only issue I think that they need to address (and I’ve talked to the Smart guys there about this) is the automatic switching of the internet billing to Php10 per 30 minutes once the Always On plan expires.”

    “This happened to me when I was subscribed to the daily plan. Was asleep the whole morning and my plan had expired for several hours before I woke up and discovered it. I ended up being charged something like Php50 because of the switch to Php10/30 minute billing. I’d call this a minor bill-shock.”

    In my opinion, this is plain robbery. You can just imagine the amount by multiplication.

    • kebbot says:

      imaginin mo nalng ilang milyon ang ninanakawan nang load kada araw…..and ung mga callcenter agent somtimes ang sarap hamunin nang boxing or ang sarap sabunotan……

      dapat walang expiry ang load kagaya digi sa malaysia… may expiry nga ung load … but kong expire na d mo na magagamit ung load mo pero if when you top it up babalik ung load mo,ma aadd xha sa bagung load me…. dba magan da… walang daya….

      you can also monitor your account, mag log in ka nalng sa kanilang website, lahat nang gnawa mo sa sim mo malalaman mo… ang mga tinatawagan mo,ilang min ung tumawag at ilang text text ka na… kong kilan yung huling load mo… dapat ganyan.

      at dapat if naunubos mo na o malapit mo nang maubos ung bandwith mo,dapat may notifications sila….

      grane naman tayo e…. harapharapan na tayung ninanakawan nang load wala pa din tayung gnagawa….

      alam mo ba ung ilan tayo dito sa pinas? imaginin mo…
      .kada araw nanakawan ka or kahit every month nang piso… e multiply mo yan sa lahat nang gumagamit nang phone… dba milyon din ang kinikita nila tapus ang mahal mhal pang tumawag..

    • kebbot says:

      pa.add ko lang ha… ilang beses na po akong ninanakawan nang load. tinatawag ki agat sa cs at binabalik naman nila….. so meaning meron talagang nakawan na nangyayari….

      kumusta kaya ung hindi nagrereklamo na ibalik ung load na nawala sa kanila…. ????

  8. humanrepellant says:

    Is Always On applicable to blackberry users?

  9. Hi Sir! The push email before isn’t included in any of the mobile data plans of Smart except for the Blackberry plans of course. As you said, your using Gmail in the Smart Always On test, is it the mail app in android? or the browser-based Gmail?

    At the end, are all data-connecting apps already included without any exceptions based on the discretion of Smart?


    • yuga says:

      @Gadget Meister – I used the GMail App on Android

    • Sir Yuga, so does it mean all data-consuming apps is already included in Smart’s Always On plans? I’m hoping enrollment to this data plan is allowed on their Gold Lite plans as well… Imagine Gold Lite 300 (2pesos/minute Smart-to-Smart) then Always-On 300/month… For 600/month it will definitely dwarf the offerings of other telcos even Sun.

    • yuga says:

      @Gadget Meister – applies to all data (upstream and downstream) whether apps or not. Should be usable for all prepaid and postpaid plans.

    • Gio says:

      Yes they are included

  10. Christopher Quijano says:

    Web browsing is possible. Don’t forget Opera Mini for browsing. Compresses the webpages para tipid sa KB. :D

    I’m planning this for my Postpaid account, but sadly, on-top billing sya. Hindi sya pwede i-bawas sa consumable.

  11. Bob Reyes says:

    How do I check on the remaining bandwidth I have for the ALWAYS ON plan?

    During the first week of my subscription, I was able to see that there’s an ALWAYS ON line in my Smart Connect dashboard, but it was not reflecting my real usage. Not until Friday last week, when I cannot find it in my Smart Connect dashboard anymore.

  12. yuga says:

    @Bob Reyes – just send “Bal” to 2200.

  13. It was a nice review about the consistency of always on, the subscribers has now an idea about it.

  14. Hannah says:

    I tested this out too. Since I just need email, twitter, also instant message. foursquare, plurk and facebook I go from 6mb – 8mb a day. I have to turn off the downloading of pictures on the mobile net browser though.

  15. jimayson says:

    300MB is just about what an average smartphone user really uses in a month (check out the AT&T plans –

    Anyway if you still want unlimited you can still purchase a daily/weekly/monthly plan at the same old rates, no cap.

  16. IC DeaDPiPoL says:

    tried it today and noticed that I’ve exceeded my 50mb transfer limit (ON 30) and didn’t receive an alert. Also when I tried to check my load twice it still read at P270 (started with P300 load)

    As of now accdg to 3G watchdog I’ve consumed around 115mb (after updating my apps)

  17. Bob says:

    If you are not using internet (FB, Twitter) using your phone, wag ka nalang mag subscribe dito. Otherwise this is really good plan.

  18. Ron says:

    Is the 25mb enough for heavy IM usage? (ex. chatting with 3-5 persons, for the whole day)

  19. lemitink says:

    hello! ur post is very helpful. i have a question though… when the internet is always on… and my gmail is always on/synchronising every 10 mins automatically. whenever it synchronizes even if it didn’t receive new email…. will it still allocate some mb?

  20. Monay says:

    I’m a postpaid user, and aside from the “always on” amount being billed on top of the consumable amount, it’s subject to 12% VAT. So 20 pesos is not really 20 pesos but 22.40. The VAT doesn’t seem to apply to prepaid users. Is this really SMART’s policy? Isn’t it unfair to postpaid users?

  21. Dennis Gaw says:

    I found out that everytime I open facebook on my mobile phone, smart automatically charge me 10 pesos, even though I have wifi on. So the question is how do I disable the Smart Always on plan so that I can use the wifi at home?

  22. shey says:

    what if i already reached the maximum MB on always on300 data plan? kc i was charged P10 per 30min browsing na. ibig sabihin,that 30 days is useless na? kc i still have remaining balance of P1.00 and i thought gaya ng unlisurf, unlimited pa rin bsta my remaining balance pa.
    nid an answer asap

  23. Monay says:

    To Dennis: you can’t disable the Always On plan while it’s still in effect, but you can disable the 3G/Data for your phone model so it will not use 3G. That depends on your phone model though.

    To Shey: Yes, once you exceed the allocated MB, 10 pesos per 30 minute rate is applied.

    • richard says:

      If I exceed the maximum mb but the promo still not expired can I apply for another promo like unlisurf even the previous promo is still on going , thanks

  24. My site says:

    Why visitors still use to read news papers when in this technological world everything is accessible on net?

  25. Allan says:

    I mistakenly registered to ALWAYSON 99 (ON 99) to 7577. The package was valid up to 30 days. The problem is, I used up the free 100MB data limit in the package in just a week. I cant register to a much suitable smart data package which is UNLI20 to 5555. I still have to wait for the package to expire and use full 30 days. Since 100mb was used up, I will be charged 5/15min of internet access. This sucks. Is there a way to cancel ALWAYSON?

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