In my previous article of a year ago (18th June 2016) titled “Your App updates are keeping telcos Afloat” I made some rudimentary calculations on just how much consumers are spending on data in order to keep their apps up to date.

At that time, the estimates were based on the keeping only the Facebook and Messenger Apps up to date and did not take into account any other apps, in order to illustrate a point.

Each Facebook update displays an arbitrary reason for updating by saying that it needs to “Update the App regularly so we can make it better for you”. I suspect this masks the true reasons which may be more like “our developers are still programming bugs into the system and we have not tested the release sufficiently” or “we are constantly inventing new ways to monitor and profit from your activity so need to build that into the system” or something similar.

Nonetheless, the calculations were based on App update sizes of each 70MB for FB and Messenger at that time (June 2016). It calculated that each user uses about 3,5GB of data per annum on Facebook and Messenger updates, equating to a total of 3,5billion GB per annum worldwide costing consumers about $35 billions p.a.

The reason for this post is to provide an update on those figures. The latest Facebook update has swelled to a phenomenal 248MB vs the 70MB last year, and Messenger is at about 148MB. If we assume an average for the two of say 200MB, then using the same calculations, and maintaining that updates happen every fortnight and not taking into account the increase in user numbers, my previous calculations will increase to the following:

Each user will now use about 10GB of data per annum on Facebook and Messenger updates, equating to a combined 10billion GB of data per annum for the 1 billion users worldwide, costing consumers about $100 billion p.a.

Wow. These are some big numbers. One can only imagine the amount of data used by all users on all app updates. In a country like South Africa where data costs are amongst the highest in the world, I believe the costs to end users are significant.