50MB app download for 3G/4G brings cost problems

Posted on by Mike Evans

I have mixed views about the new 50MB app download limit and I fear that many people will find their remaining data allowance shrinking fast. This is especially important when you are away from home, as I am at the moment. Every roaming megabyte is precious. Data usage has increased significantly since the introduction of the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, and the new doubled app download ability can only make matters worse.

Here in Beijing I have an allowance of 150MB for my seven-day stay and I am therefore rationing myself, using wifi wherever possible, and trying to minimise unnecessary downloads. With the new bloated retina-display apps and an increased cellular download limit of 50MB, there are many traps for the unwary.

Were I unwise enough to be using data roaming here in China I would be paying £3 ($4.50) per megabyte. In little over one day I have used 30MB (courtesy of China Unicom at a uneblievably cheap 4p [6c] per megabyte). On data roaming the bill would have been £90 ($135) and rising. Mistakenly downloading a 50MB app could rack up £150 ($225) in addition to the cost of the app. On this basis, a “free app” is nothing of the sort.

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