How Much Mobile Data Do You Use?

You obviously can recall when free minutes and texts were the main determinants when selecting a phone contract? Today, these are barely even noticed, as we now face a more modern challenge when contemplating whether to sign-up: just how much mobile data is going to be enough?

Growth of Mobile Internet Usage

With the huge popularity of smartphones that are offering more efficient and faster ways of streaming music, playing games and watching TV on the go, the growth of mobile Internet usage has ballooned.

When looking for suitable mobile phone tariffs, however, it becomes challenging to know precisely the amount download allowance to select, or how much data one is likely to use. Many times, mobile data caps could be set as low as 100MB per month, so picking tariff becomes a very risky undertaking.

It becomes tempting to select the maximum data amount offered by a tariff. This, however, may actually end up not being the best value for your money in case you don’t use all of it. It may in fact, work out to be far much cheaper when you pick a tariff that is best suited to your particular mobile internet habits either monthly or daily.

Typical Data Consumption Options

• If you are not a heavy user, you might want to go for more texts and minutes, and a lower data allowance, like 100MB.
• A medium Internet user might find 500MB to be more than adequate for their needs.
• However, if you are a heavy user, you will benefit from mobile phone tariffs that offer 1GB data allowance or more.

If you check your emails regularly on your phone without any attachments, the typical usage is between 10 and 30 MB. However, with attachments, this could go anywhere from several KB’s to a couple of MB’s, based on size.

Case Study of Data use on Netflix

Watching TV programs or movies on Netflix uses approximately 1 GB of data hourly per standard definition video stream, and for HD video streaming, per hour this could go up to 3 GB. This becomes a headache for Netflix members with a data cap or monthly bandwidth.

How to Reduce Bandwidth Amount

The easiest way of reducing your bandwidth amount while on Netflix is through adjusting the account data usage settings.

There are 4 settings to choose from:

• Low setting (0.3 GB hourly)
• Medium setting (SD: 0.7 GB hourly)
• High data setting, which is best video quality (3 GB hourly for High Density and 7 GB for Ultra HD)
• Auto, which automatically adjusts to give you the highest possible quality, depending on your connection speed.


Some networks will charge you £5 for any extra 500Mb whilst others may charge between £2 and £3. The best route is to confirm beforehand with your network to make sure you pick the most suitable data package and avoid a bill shock at month end.