Sun Free Internet Experience by a College Student : What Can You Do with 30MB?

Upon reading about PLDT Group’s Free Internet campaign on TechPinas, I readily tried the promo on my O+ Air with Sun Cellular Prepaid SIM.

Thanks to the user-friendly instructions, subscribing to it was easy as 1-2-3!

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
Based on Sir Mark’s instructions, I simply texted “Free” to 9999

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
And after receiving the confirmation message, I was all set and ready to go!

According to the TP post, users can enjoy 20 social media posts with photos, 50 web page loads, 20 plain emails, and 15 minutes of music streaming.

I personally don’t stream music on my smartphone and I open my emails on my computer so I got curious on just how much of the other content I could enjoy using this generous freebie.

At first, I thought that 30MB is going to be too little for me since I consume an average of 500MB per week based on the data usage meter on my O+ Air.

All 500MB of data usually comes from browsing the web, refreshing the weather update from Google Now, and playing games that require online connection such as Boom Beach (that's similar to Clash of Clans).

After trying out this promo for a couple of days, though, I realized that - employing the right techniques - 30MB can and will take you quite far.

Tip: Use Opera Mini

From the get go, I knew that 30MB of mobile data wouldn’t last long on my phone's Google Chrome browser, which I use for checking Facebook and and Twitter. (Yes, I don’t use the official FB app due to the invasive permissions required by its partner Messenger app.)

Good thing there's Opera Mini browser to save the day. According to their Google Play page:“Opera Mini uses up to 90% less data than other web browsers, giving you faster, cheaper internet”. Using PLDT Group’s free internet promo, I was able to put their claims to the test.

My browsing challenge was easy; I simply went though my routine of checking the for updates as well as my Facebook account for any notifications on my daily commute to school. Clicking on 2 links from TP and scrolling through my news feed to catch up on friends (roughly about 5 links back and forth from the news feed, or about 5 minutes of scrolling on Facebook, and then about a minute on Twitter), Opera Mini provided a smooth experience, never missing out any detail that I would have gotten from the mobile apps that usually consume a lot of data bandwidth. I was also able to post status updates and to comment on my friends’ FB posts, and I even retweeted news updates from a couple of accounts I'm following -- all with Opera Mini eating just a little more than 2MB of data.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
Checking my Facebook account using Opera Mini: More TP giveaways? Yes please!

Opera Mini also has a nifty feature which allows you to set the image quality on websites you visit to high, medium, or low. Setting it low, of course, can further extend your data usage. And that's what I did.

Google Services, Covered!

After the web surfing challenge, I had 28MB of data left. What did I do with it? Well, I tried to refresh Google Now for weather updates and I even opened Google Play just to check which apps are leading the charts.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
Refreshed Google Now for weather updates

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
Google Play home page

Out of curiosity, I tried downloading an app to see if the free internet promo would allow it. And surprisingly, it worked!

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
It's a measly 400KB app. But hey, at least, the download worked.

Since the promo works on Google Play app downloads (provided you have enough free data to cover it), I decided to also launch Google Maps to check if it's supported.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
Yup! It's also covered!

Mark of TP: For those who are asking, Youtube access is not allowed in this promo. You'd have to subscribe to a 'Boost' package (Php 5 for 15 minutes of unrestricted data use) to be able to watch online videos on your smartphone.

No Online Games. Aww!

Lastly, I tried to confirm whether the comment from TP Friend Emilio Servidad was true. He wrote that games requiring internet connection are not covered by the free mobile internet promo.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet

I managed to download an app and navigate through Google Maps, why wouldn’t the promo let me play my favorite game? Hmm.

Boom Beach, an online game similar to Clash of Clans (CoC), is apparently not supported. I clicked on the 'Try again' button 5 times to no avail. Hands up! No online games for me.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
But it's still all good. I mean, come on; It's a free service.

A Few Additional Tips:

1. Watch out for launchers and applications that consume too much data in the background. You can check which apps eat up your mobile connection by opening your Data Usage monitoring page. Uninstall non-system delinquent apps that you don't really use often but - for some reason - always seem launch on their own and run in the background.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet
This is my data usage this morning on my way to school. That's roughly 7MB of data, which means that if I subscribe to this promo every day before I leave the house, I'd still have 23MB of data to enjoy every afternoon, after my classes. Sweet!

2. You might want to disable account syncing and restrict applications from accessing your data in the background by tweaking your permissions settings.

Sun Cellular Free Mobile Internet

There you have it, TP Friends. As I've showed you, 30MB should be more than enough for a day -- if you use the right applications and implement some restrictions.

Thanks for the freebie, PLDT Group! It's really helpful -- especially for students like me.

#TPWriterFellows Batch 1 Member and DLSU student, Nico Aguila is the self-proclaimed 'official' tech support guy of his friends. He's always ready to give you tips and tricks with Android devices and even gives you advice on which phone or tablet you should get whether it be running on Android, iOS, or Windows Phone operating system. Nico sees TechPinas as the best tech website in the Philippines and also as his safe haven when he reads tech news that is happening in the country. When he graduates, Nico plans to find a stable job in tech, have a family when he can, and of course, expose his future kids to technology and TechPinas so that they'll enjoy great bonding times together.

Mark of TP: Last October 3, 2014, Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan - Chairman of PLDT Group - announced via his official Twitter account that the free 30MB mobile internet campaign for all Smart, Sun Cellular, Talk N' Text, and Smart Bro subscribers has been extended until January 5, 2015.

During the launch of this promo held at the Makati Shangrila Hotel last September 26, Mr. Pangilinan told the media, "We are launching this initiative to provide a much larger number of Filipinos the opportunity to try out and experience the Internet, enjoy its benefits and, as we at Smart like to say, live more. This special offer is specifically designed to assist our prepaid subscribers who make up the bulk of our population. Many of them already have the mobile devices capable of accessing the internet but have yet to use them to go online. In this way, Smart can effectively promote digital inclusion and spread the benefits of the Internet in the fastest and most effective way possible.”