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What monthly download limit do I need for my mobile?

How much data do I need? What does it all mean? Choosing the right mobile phone package can be confusing.

It’s easy enough to estimate how long you spend each month on calls. You probably also have a good idea of how many texts you send. It’s more difficult to take a guess at how much data you use each month. ‘Data’ is basically the information you either send or receive when you’re online – so each time you send an email, browse websites, download a song or watch a video on YouTube, you’re using data.

You don’t want to be caught short each month. At the same time, there’s no need to pay for loads more than you need. Here are a few pointers to help you choose the right phone contract...

Use Wi-Fi when possible...

Don’t forget; it’s only 3G (or 4G if you have it) usage that eats into your data allowance. Using your phone in Wi-Fi mode means you can access the web as often as you want without it having any impact on your phone contract.  What you’re paying for with your mobile contract is accessing the Web via your provider’s network.

How much data does each task use?

The basic unit of information/data is a Bit. Here’s how information is measured:

8 Bits = 1 Byte 
1024 Bytes = 1 KiloByte (KB)
1024 KiloBytes = 1 MegaByte (MB) 
1024 MegaBytes = 1 GigaByte (GB)
1024 GigaBytes = 1 TeraByte (TB)

And here’s how much data it takes to carry out different tasks on your mobile (figures are approximate):

Watching and sending stuff:

  • Sending an email (without an attachment) 20KB
  • Sending 50 emails (without an attachment) 1MB
  • Sending an email (with an attachment) 0.5 MB
  • 1 hour of web browsing (depending on how many 1.5-25MB
  • Listening to online radio for 1 hour 60MB
  • Streaming normal quality video for 1 hour 250MB
  • Streaming high definition video for 1 hour 1-2 GB
  • Video chatting on Skype for 1 hour 0.5 GB

 Downloading stuff:

  • Downloading 1 mp3 from iTunes 5MB
  • Downloading 1 photo 1 MB
  • Downloading 1 music video or film trailer 100MB
  • Downloading 1 movie 700MB-2GB

 What type of contract should I get?

What can I do for 1GB?

Everyone’s usage habits are different. As a rough guide, with a typical 1GB monthly allowance on a 3G contract, you should be able to do all of the following:

  • Stream half an hour of TV each day
  • Watch 3 music videos each day
  • Spend an hour on Facebook each day
  • Spend two hours surfing the web each day
  • Spend an hour or so each week video-chatting on Skype.

Should I get a 500 MB contract?

If you only use your mobile for checking Facebook on the go and moderate web-browsing – as well as maybe listening to pre-uploaded MP3s, you probably only need a contract that gives you 500MB or less per month.

Should I get an unlimited data contract?

Downloads are what really eat into your data allowance. Once you start downloading apps, games and movies – that’s what really makes the difference. If you use your mobile for absolutely everything web-based and you don’t have access to wireless broadband in the house, an unlimited data contract is probably going to make sense.

While your here.. have a look at our great range of mobile accessories.

Mobile Madhouse

How much data do I need? What does it all mean? Choosing the right mobile phone package can be confusing.

It’s easy enough to estimate how long you spend each month on calls. You probably also have a good idea of how many texts you send. It’s more difficult to take a guess at how much data you use each month. ‘Data’ is basically the information you either


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