There are two main methods to accessing the net wirelessly – using WiFi and using a data connection provided by phone carriers. The problem is, fast and reliable WiFi connections are not everywhere. Most of the time, especially in developing countries, people have to rely on slower and more expensive carriers’ data connections. Knowing that customers have no other options, some carriers try to reap even more profit by setting an impossibly high price for data connections.
What can customers do to save money? They can try to minimize their mobile data plan usage, or they can use Onavo.
To Reroute & To Compress
Onavo is a new service that will help phone users reduce their mobile Internet data usage by rerouting the data streams via Onavo’s servers and compressing the data there. The result is that users will send and receive smaller data sizes, websites will load faster, and the connection costs will be smaller. Onavo claims that the service can shrink data size up to 80%.
The concept of rerouting and compressing data streams itself is not new. The method was popular several years ago as an alternative way to “speed up” very slow Internet connections (does anybody still remember what it was like to use a 56.6Kbps modem over a landline?). One of those services was Toonel.
At the moment, Onavo is only available for iOS devices (iPhones and 3G versions of iPads). You can download the free app in the App Store. As for Android users, you don’t have to worry because several websites have confirmed that the Android version is on the way.
After installing the app, you can start setting up the service. Open the app and install a personal Onavo profile on your iOS device: fill in your email address and choose a password, then click “Next“.
Onavo will get the data from the web and ask for your confirmation before installing the profile.
After the set up, you will get the explanation screen. It will tell you that the service is currently not supporting VoIP and video apps. Tap “Go To App” to continue.
Let’s Start Saving
Using the service is very easy. All that you have to do is to tap on “Turn Savings On” button and do your normal Internet activities on your iOS device while leaving the app open. The rerouting and compressing process will be done automatically in the background.
Anytime you need to stop using the service, you can tap the “Turn Savings Off” button.
Some of you might ask, why would anyone turn off a service that will speed up the webload while reducing connection costs? The answer is simple – the size compression process compromises on file quality, and the effect is most noticeable on images. So if you need to view web images in their best shape, you will want to turn off the compression.
After a few minutes of using the app, you can go back to the app to view the savings report. Onavo will tell you how many kilobytes (or megabytes) that you’ve saved. It will also tell you the saving’s percentage. Tap “Reports” to see the details. You can share your savings via Facebook, Twitter, or email to your colleagues using the “Share” tab on the right.
Since I tried the app only for a little while, I didn’t have the monthly savings data to show. But the app has a sample of monthly savings data, with a colorful chart showing where your savings went.
Settings & Removing
The “Settings” is the place to change your email and/or password, and to do several other adjustments. You can access Settings by tapping the gear icon on the top right corner of the screen.
By going a little bit deeper into the Settings, you can find the instructions on how to remove Onavo’s profile: go to Settings – Profile and remove Onavo.
But if you are a mobile Internet user with a carrier’s mobile data plan, you wouldn’t want to remove Onavo. How else can you get a cheaper and faster mobile Internet connection? If you know of another easy and free method to do so, please share it in the comments below.