Most phone contracts have unlimited minutes and texts included. What matters now is data. In fact, almost all apps on a mobile require data to work. You’ll need data when browsing the internet, when sending messages on WhatsApp, when reading your e-mails… You’ll also need data to use applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, Skype and YouTube. Unfortunately, different apps and activities consume data at substantially different rates. This can make it a bit tricky to work out how much data you’ll need each month.
Three major factors to consider when choosing a data plan are:
Do you usually connect to WiFi before using your mobile, particularly before using data-hungry applications? If so, that’s great, because the data you consume will not count towards your monthly limit. Please check whether there are limits as to how much WiFi you can use.
The largest drain on data by a country mile are video services that allow you to watch programmes over your mobile connection. As you can see from the table below, you can easily consume 500MB (1/2 GB) per hour with such applications. A smart move would be to download programmes onto your mobile before travelling.
Photos/Videos on the go
Some of the latest smartphones allow you to take very high-quality pictures. The problem with this is that the more pixels your camera has, the larger the files it produces. The same can be said for videos, so try to wait until you are back on WiFi before uploading any pictures or videos.
Typical rates of data consumption by app and activity
The following table illustrates how different apps and online activities contribute to data consumption:
Note 1,000 Megabyte (MB) equals 1GB. Most offers are now in Gigabytes (GB).
How can mobile operators help you manage your data?
My Giffgaff allows you to view your usage in near real time. You can also change your monthly bundle on a monthly basis or top up. Just before the end of the renewal period Giffgaff even recommends which bundle you should be on. Here are our Giffgaff offers.
iD Mobile also have an app that allows you to view your usage in near real time. Should you exceed your allowance, you can always buy add-ons. Any data left over at end of a billing period is automatically rolled over to the next month. You can also set a spending cap to avoid any unwelcome surprises. Here are our iD Mobile offers.
The My Vodafone app allows you to view your usage and bills. As a prepaid customer, you can also see your credit, top-ups, Big Value Bundles, Freebie allowances and reward points. Some pay monthly plans have BT Wi-Fi premium hotspots included. Please check the details of plans before selecting them. Here are our Vodafone offers.
Three’s app allows you to view your balance, usage, extras and bills to help you take control of charges. Here are our Three offers.
My O2 app allows you to view your usage, bills and remaining data balance, with an option to top up. O2 also has a network of 7,000 Wi-Fi hotspots you can connect to if you are an O2 customer. Here are our O2 offers.
My EE app allows you to manage your account and stay in control by viewing your bills, charges and usage, and buying add-ons if you are running out. Some price plans have BT Openzone Wi-Fi included with a 3GB monthly fair-usage policy. Please check the details of plans before selecting them. Here are our EE offers.