I’m a frequent business traveler so I often end up paying hefty roaming data charges. I’ve tried switching to an alternative data plan with lower roaming charges but it didn’t make much difference in my overall bill as the carrier made up for it by levying some other additional fee. Last week, I came across Onavo – a free iPhone app that claims to shrink your data usage (and thus, your bills). Needless to say, I installed it immediately and I’ve liked whatever I’ve seen so far of Onavo.
Once I installed the app, it prompted me to setup an Onavo profile. Once I entered the profile information, the app installed it on my iPhone. The Onavo app will then run in the background and uses Onavo’s cloud compression technology to compress all data. This helps when you are browsing the internet, watching online videos, viewing maps or you are hooked up to the Internet for any other reason. For example, if I browse a specific site such simonblog.com, my iPhone connects to Onavo’s servers, which then downloads the site, compresses it, and renders it on my phone.
The company claims travelers can save up to 80% on their data plans and the app offers flexibility to manage monthly data usage.
Onavo claims to let users double or even triple their data plan – both abroad and at home. The app provides a comprehensive report on your monthly data bill with site level breakdown and provides several metrics which enable you to make sense of your data usage.
Since its early days yet, Onavo does have some problems. I browsed a couple of sites which didn’t seem to be displayed correctly with Onavo. Moreover, I’ve observed a difference in image quality for sites that are rendered through Onavo – but that’s one of the prices to pay for compression and lower data charges.
All in all, Onavo seems to be a near perfect means to cut down your global roaming fees. Onavo is free for limited time so I’d strongly recommend you try it out once. You can download Onavo via this direct iTunes link.
Gaurav Kheterpal is a seasoned technology professional with nearly a decade of experience in Mobile, Web 2.0 and Open Source Technologies. He's an Apple fanboy and an iPhone lover/ critic since it's early days. He loves exploring, developing and reviewing iPhone apps, as well as covering news stories about Apple and its products.