When you are looking for mobile phone plan, a really important factor to consider is how much data you need.
Data is what you use when you connect to the internet and you aren’t using wi-fi. Uploading photos to social media, streaming music on Spotify, browsing the web and sending emails all use data.
Whether you choose a SIM-only plan or a handset plan, you’ll have a set amount of data to use each month, which is measured in MB or GB – 1000MB equals 1GB. What you use your phone for will determine how much data you need, for instance watching a video on YouTube uses more data than sending a WhatsApp message.*
Go over your data allowance and you may be charged extra. We want to help you get the right plan, so keep reading to find out how much data you really need.
Are you a Box-set Binger?
There are so many brilliant shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that it’s easy for one episode of The Crown to turn into three or four and it’s nearly midnight! Box-set Bingers burn through data - watching four hours of TV in Auto mode via the Netflix mobile app uses around 1GB of data. Get hooked on crime drama Ozark, for example, and streaming all 20 episodes in series one and series two will use 5GB of your allowance.
We recommend: You are a data devourer. If you can’t curb your box-set addiction go for a plan with at least 20GB or more.
Are you a Social Butterfly?
Are you always checking Facebook or uploading pictures of your dinner to Instagram? An hour on Facebook uses around 20MB of data, but if you Social Butterflies start sharing videos and photos you’ll use a lot more - after Instagram introduced its media-rich Stories, data usage on the site rose 41%.
We recommend: Social Butterflies need a decent amount of data – 6GB a month should allow you to share, chat and snoop for a few hours each day.
Are you a Catch-up Commuter?
If you’ve been hooked by a thriller like Killing Eve and use your daily bus or train ride to watch the next episode, you are a Catch-up Commuter. Streaming video uses a lot of data – watch an hour-long show on BBC iPlayer and you’ll use around 245MB. Do this for two hours on the journey to and from work and you’ll use nearly up 2.5GB of data a week.
We recommend: You are data hungry. Go for plan with lots of data – at least 10GB a month if not 20GB or higher if you use your phone for other things.
Are you a Mobile Multitasker?
Mobile Multitaskers flit between checking email, updating Facebook and downloading the occasional song. If that’s you and your video viewing is the odd YouTube clip rather than entire Netflix episodes, you don’t need a plan with lots and lots of data.
We recommend: Look for a plan with a moderate amount of data - 3GB should be fine. But if you think you’ll be uploading a lot of pictures to social or want the flexibility to stream a few more videos opt for a plan with 6GB of data.
Are you a Classic Caller?
Many of us stay in touch through WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger and email, but Classic Callers prefer picking up the phone and talking to friends. If you are a chatterer rather than a texter and you rely your inclusive minutes, you don’t need much data.
We recommend: Choose a low-data 500MB or 1GB plan, so you can go online if you want – more importantly pick a plan with plenty of minutes.
Whether the soundtrack to your day is classical, pop or heavy metal with Spotify or TuneIn Radio, Music Lovers will use around 70-80MB per hour in normal quality. Stream for two hours a day and you’ll use 1GB a week or 4.5GB a month.
We recommend: If you listen to a lot of music, opt for a plan with at least 6GB of data, so you’ve got extra for browsing and social media. If you listen to an hour of music a day or less, opt for a 3GB plan.
Upgrade your plan: If you are continually going over your data allowance, move to a different plan. That way, you’ll avoid any unexpected charges and you won’t have to worry about running out of data in the middle of the month.
* The data use figures quoted are approximate. The amount of data you will use varies depending what you are doing the size of the file and quality settings.