What is mobile data?

Thanks to our obsession with our iPhones, Android devices, iPads and remote working, the demand for mobile data is exploding.

But what is mobile data, and how much will you need? We’ll outline exactly what you can do with your data, how you can keep it under control and how much data you’ll be likely to consume.

Let's start with the jargon KB, MB and GB?

There are 1,024 kilobytes (KB) in 1 megabyte (MB) and 1,024 megabytes in 1 gigabyte (GB).

OK, so now we know the units but how much data do we really need? Fortunately it doesn't matter if you are connecting via your smartphone or laptop data usage is the same. However the usage requirements can differ widely and consequently this has a knock-on effect on the amount of data you may require.

Smartphone Users

Besides making phone calls and sending text messages, most activities on a modern smartphone will consume data. These activities include; browsing the web, reading and sending e-mails, checking Facebook and Twitter, sharing photos, downloading applications, downloading music, listening to online radio and watching videos on YouTube.

Laptop & Tablet Users

Unsurprisingly the average monthly 3G traffic is the highest for laptops (1-7 GB), followed by tablets (250-800 MB) and smartphones (80-600 MB). With Online video (30–40 percent) being the largest contributor to mobile traffic volume, followed by Web browsing (20–30 percent).

So what do you get for your MB's? (10MB)


25 emails


3 photo file or document


2 web pages


5 min streaming music


1 min HD video streaming


1 min using a connected app

How much data do you need whilst abroad?

This question is really answered by; how important is the data to you? If the majority of your access is for leisure, we'd recommend that you wait until you have a secure WiFi connection rather than wasting your precious mobile MB's. However, ensure you are using a genuine and secure connection as free Wifi can often lead to problems, as detailed in our blog section.

Generally we've found that people want mobile data access for one of 3 reasons:

Need to check emails (10-20 per day) - Nothing more nothing less. Will not be accessing or sending large files in excess of 1MB. In this instance you can certainly get by with 50-200 MB per month.

Want to use my smartphone as per normal - If this is the case you need to budget between 200-500 MB per month and avoid watching too many videos!

Essential work related - To make sure everything operates as in the UK, we would recommend that you use an unlimited or heavy usage data package in excess of 1 GB. However if you will be accessing video content, gaming or downloading excessively then you will need an unlimited package.

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