Frequently Asked Questions

Data Bundles

How do I manage and control my data usage?

Automatic downloads contributes greatly to data usage. Manage your data by blocking automatic downloads in MySmile - login and select "Manage my data usage". You can also block Cloud Storage, Torrenting and Videos in MySmile to keep a tighter management of your data usage, especially when you give other users access to use your data by allowing them to connect with their devices via Wi-Fi to your Router or MiFi.

Smile seems to define a GB differently from the traditional definition. Your GBs have fewer units (1 000MB) than we would normally expect (1 024MB). Why is there such a discrepancy?

Smile GBs are now 1 024MB, although this is not consistent with the standard definition of a GB. Smile conforms to the International System of Units (SI), which defines a gigabyte (GB) as 1 000 000 000 bytes or 1 000MB, a megabyte (MB) as 1 000 000 bytes or 1 000KB and a kilobyte as 1 000 bytes.

The appropriate prefix for multiples of 1 024 units is GiB, which is equivalent to 1 024 MiB, while MiB is 1 024 KiB, and KiB is 1 024 bytes. Operating systems like Windows©, Apple’s IOS and Android™ use multiples of 1 024 when displaying file sizes and storage space, but instead of using the appropriate prefixes (KiB, MiB, GiB), they instead use KB, MB and GB.

Smile values the opinions of our customers, so we have decided to align with the operating systems use of these prefixes. A Smile GB is now 1 024 MB and a Smile MB is now 1 024KB, which is the expectation of some of our customers.

Can you give me the details of my data usage? Can you also give me a list of all of the individual websites that I have visited with the corresponding data usage per site?

You can view your current and past internet data transfer usage at any time using the ‘Transaction History’ link within MySmile Customer Portal. However, we only track the amount of data being transferred, not any actual internet activity or websites visited, subject to the terms of our Privacy Policy and Acceptable Use Policy. If you still wish to track websites visited by users of your Smile 4G LTE device, please contact Smile Customer Care and our agents will always be happy to recommend tools and equipment that you can deploy in your office or home network that will help you achieve this objective.

How do you know that your data usage measurement is accurate?

Integrity is one of our core values. We have a dedicated team of trained and specialised engineers who thoroughly review and check the accuracy of our system on a regular basis. Our Customer Care agents are always happy to discuss individual usage one-on-one with our customers to answer their questions.

Each time I purchase a data bundle and then immediately try to verify in MySmile, I find that my bundle has reduced by 100MB, even before I have resumed using the service. Why is that?

The 100MB is the reservation quota. To prevent frequent billing, a reservation quota is given to grant you broadband access in the current session. Once your device is attached to the Smile 4G LTE network, a session is established. During this session, data transfer is allowed for up to 100MB, after which your account is debited with your actual usage and a fresh reservation quota is granted. However, should you choose to end the session before you have used up all of the granted 100MB, your account will be debited with only your actual usage and the remainder of the reservation quota is returned to your account.

What is actually included in my data usage?

Data usage includes all of the data you have received (downloaded) or sent (uploaded). In addition, we take into account the Internet Protocol (IP) headers that are used during the transfer of data over our 4G LTE network (this is usually negligible). Access to MySmile Customer Portal is not included in your usage as access to this portal is free of charge to all Smile customers.

With my previous service provider, a 3GB bundle lasted me an entire month, however, with Smile 3GB only lasts me less than a week. Does Smile's superfast speed in itself mean more data usage? What can I do to control my usage?

SuperFast speeds do not necessarily mean more usage. It is important to remember that it is what you are doing on the internet, not how fast you are able to do it, that determines the amount of data you use. However, we realise that reliable, SuperFast broadband services change users’ internet behaviour – users then find themselves spending more time watching video content online or surfing more web pages than before. It is this behaviour change that leads to higher data usage. YouTube and online video streaming constitute the bulk of the additional data usage as a result of newly learned internet behaviour. Therefore, limiting access to online video content will normally bring you back into your regular data usage pattern.

Additional tips you should observe to control your usage

o    Turn off your data router when it is not in use.

o    Check the size of videos before downloading.

o    Before attempting to download a software upgrade for your smart device, please ensure that you have more bundle credit than the size of the upgrade file, to avoid aborted downloads that waste data.

o    Monitor the number of downloads that you make.

o    Keep track of the time you spend on video streaming sites.

o    Reduce the quality of videos streamed.

o    Limit or restrict access to some sites. (How to block sites.)

o    Ensure that you have recent antivirus and anti-spam software installed on your computer.

o    Ensure that your Wi-Fi signal is password-protected and regularly changed.

o    Turn off ‘Automatic Updates’.

o    The handy ‘Usage Tips’ in our data calculator give detailed instructions on how to control your usage.

I know about BitTorrenting and Cloud backup drives; I have been using the same applications long before I started using Smile 4G LTE broadband internet services, but I had never experienced such high data usage with my previous internet service provider as I do now with Smile. Why is that?

Smile uses the latest cellular technology – 4G LTE – to provide SuperFast broadband internet access. Smile’s 4G LTE customers have access to upload speeds in excess of 10Mbps. If unrestricted, applications like BitTorrent and Dropbox will take advantage of the superfast upload speeds to complete all of the upload or backup tasks that have been pending. It is likely that your previous internet service had very limited upload speeds and, therefore, such tasks could not even get started.

How can I identify which background applications are using up my data bundle?

Our Customer Care agents are always glad to assist you to identify the applications on your devices that are using up most of your data bundle. They will also be happy to recommend simple tools to install that are able to track usage per connected smart device or computer, so that in future you will be able track how your bundles are being used.

Why does my bundle deplete much faster when I’m using Smile 4G LTE broadband internet to stream live TV or watch YouTube video clips, compared to when I access the same content using other internet services? How is it possible that I use more data on your network to access the exact same content?

It is known that, while using Smile 4G LTE mobile broadband, YouTube and Skype will adjust to higher-quality video to match Smile’s superfast speeds. YouTube and most streaming applications use an adaptive bitrate (speed) streaming technique, which works by detecting a user’s bandwidth in real time and then adjusting the quality of video stream accordingly. With Smile 4G LTE broadband internet, you will always be served with higher-quality video stream. Higher-quality streams are enjoyable to watch, however, they consume a lot more data.

YouTube has a provision to restrict the video stream to low quality; the default is ‘auto’. We advise that you use this setting option to restrict the quality of the video clip, consequently reducing your data usage.

Did you know?

o    Streaming YouTube videos in high definition (1080P) will consume data at up to 1.89GB per hour (or 31.5MB per minute).

o    Streaming YouTube videos in standard definition (360P) will consume data at up to 507.6MB per hour (or 8.46MB per minute).

o    Making a Skype video call will consume data at up to 230.4MB per hour (or 3.84MB per minute).

o    Making a Skype voice call will consume data at up to 45MB per hour (or 0.75MB per minute).

My bundles are running out so fast: I seem to use up my bundle even when I am not doing anything with my computer or smart device. Sometimes, when I have been away from my computer I see that part of my bundle has been used up. How can this happen?

Sometimes, data transfer applications on your device may be running in the background, which will use up your data bundle without your knowledge:

Software and social media updates: An ‘idle’ computer, tablet or smartphone may still use up data for background activities like software update downloads and presence status checks of your contacts on social networks like Skype, Facebook and WhatsApp. Social networking applications periodically access the internet to verify and indicate to you which of your contacts are ‘online’. You are advised to turn off automatic software updates and close social networking applications whenever you are not actively using them.

BitTorrent: If you have recently used a BitTorrent client application to download media files, etc., it is possible that users (called ‘peers’) of the same application are downloading the same files from your computer’s storage drive without your knowledge. BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol. By default, BitTorrent clients are set to allow peers access to your already downloaded files, using all of the available upload speed. Please be mindful to limit upload speeds that your BitTorrent peers can have access to by using the Settings option. For most clients, the minimum possible setting for upload speeds is 1Kbps.

Cloud-based backup drives: These include Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. If you have an online backup account and a backup client running on your smart device or computer, and if the backup client has been configured to automatically backup your files or folders on your device, it is possible that your data bundle may be used up during a backup session without your knowledge. It is recommended that you review your backup settings to include only what is critical for backup. Backing up all of your archived pictures, movie files and audio files will result in high data usage.

Did you know?

o    Without making a voice or video call, Skype may use up to 324MB per month to check which of your contacts are online.

o    For a 1.5GB movie download using BitTorrent, a client could easily consume an additional 15GB of your data, uploading (seeding) the same movie to new ‘downloaders’ (peers), and all this may happen without your knowledge.

o    Backing up pictures and music will consume 5MB of your data per file.

And how much data do I use when I make a Skype call?


o Skype voice-only calls: Recommended speed is 100kbps (although Skype will allow the call to degrade to 30Kbps, before dropping it) – average volume consumed is 29.3MB/hour.

o Skype video calls: Recommended speed is 500kbps (video calling can degrade to 300Kbps, before dropping) – average volume is 200MB – 225MB/hour.

Is there an expiry date on my bundle?

Whenever you load data bundles, you get a 30-day validity period starting from the date subscribed for each data bundle. However, if you still have monetary airtime on your Smile account and have allowed the ‘Out-of-bundle’ usage option, you will still be connected although your internet connection will continue using up your airtime directly. Please note that the monetary airtime in your account never expires. 60 days’ validity starting 17 October 2013.

How do I convert my airtime to bundles?

Log in to MySmile with your customer username and password.

o On your ‘My Account’ page, check to see if your ‘Airtime Balance’ is sufficient to purchase the internet bundle required. If not, first top up your airtime using PayWay.

o On the MySmile home page, click on the ‘Buy Smile Bundle’ tab.

o Click on the ‘Purchase’ button next to the bundle you wish to purchase.

o A confirmation page will be displayed. Click ‘Confirm’ on the confirmation page to proceed or click ‘Cancel’ to cancel the bundle purchase.

o Your newly purchased internet bundle will be shown in your ‘Data Bundle Balance’ on your ‘MyAccount’ page.

My internet bundle has run out. How do I top up?

Click here to see the prices of our affordable internet bundles.

Use PayWay to purchase airtime at a location nearest to you. More information on how to use PayWay and their locations can be found here.

After purchasing airtime, log in to MySmile to convert your airtime to a Smile internet bundle.

I have been away from my computer and I see that part of my data bundle has been used. What could have happened?

In order to minimise ‘unwanted usage’, there are a number of precautions you can take to ensure that you can maximise the management of your data usage. Sometimes, programmes can run in the background which will use data. If you see this happening, please check the following in order to protect against unwanted usage:

  1. Always be very wary of torrents. Torrenting is illegal and you can unwittingly be acting as a seeder for other internet users if you download and leave torrenting software open. Your operating system/antivirus programs may be running automatically in the background. To get around this, you can disable automatic updates.
  2. Always close your web browsers and other tabs if you are not using your computer.
  3. Always ensure that your computer is clear from viruses, worms and trojans to avoid running any superfluous processes.
  4. Exit from any download manager that you are running on your computer in order to avoid active download processes. Smile can also recommend simple online tools that can help you see how your data is being used.

Our Customer Care team is on hand to provide you with further advice on how best to avoid unwanted data usage.

Chat with Smile for more details (call us on 0720 100 100 from any network or 100 (FREE) from any SmileVoice number, or email .

My data bundle is running out so fast. Why is this?

Our commitment is to offer you the fastest 4G LTE internet in Uganda that you can enjoy playing online interactive games, downloading movies and watching videos without any waiting time or delays. Due to the exceptionally high throughput data speeds you will not experience any "waiting" or "buffering" of content and because of these high speeds you may use more data that you have before within the same time period.

It is like driving in a Mercedez or driving a Ferrari from one point to another - which car do you think will use the most petrol? The Ferrari of course - Smile's SuperFast broadband internet is similar.

Please register on MySmile to view and manage your data usage. With MySmile you can also manage the speed of your data throughput. If you'd like to slow it down, just manage this securely with MySmile. Our customer care team is also available 24/7 to assist on 0720 100 100 from any network or 100 (FREE) from any SmileVoice number.

How can I identify which background applications are using up my data bundle?

Our customer care team is always standing by to assist you to identify the applications on your devices that are using up most of your data bundle. They will also be happy to recommend simple tools to install that are able to track usage per connected smart device or computer, so that in future you will be able track how your data in your bundle is being used.