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Code Blue Communications > Blog > Business Mobile > How much data do you actually use?

How much data do you actually use?

2nd February 2015

“I’ve got a message I’ve hit my data limit. I hardly use it.”

This is a call I receive regularly – in fact just this weekend from my Mum of all people. “Why would I get a message I’ve hit my data limit, I hardly use the phone?” Now not that I’d ever question my mum but being part of her Facebook circle of friends I kind of guess why: multiple requests during the week to play various bubble games (luckily our social media ninja showed me how to turn these off), regular ‘Pass on this good luck messages’ etc.

Most mobile users – including myself (I’m guilty of just accepting notifications) – have no idea what their phones are doing in the background due to settings on various social media sites and email account updates. I use the analogy of a duck most days with customers; basically your phone sits on the desk looking all serene, whilst below the surface its little legs are going ten to the dozen to make sure you’re kept up to date with the latest gossip, LinkedIn updates or just the football scores.

Director’s data usage for the last 4 days…

Be very aware that in the UK the networks send you a warning that if you go over your limit you will be charged. Most people just accept this text and carry on without knowing the price implications. Let’s say you pay £8.51 per month for your 1GB data bolt on, a reasonable price. Well if you go over that you will be charged anywhere from £6.50 for 250 mb up to £2.50 per mb. We have had customers with UK data-only bills of hundreds of pounds. With this in mind we thought let’s have a look at how your data usage can stack up.

I did some digging around the web to find out just what applications and downloads can do to your inclusive data allowance. Some amazing figures:

-Music streaming (average quality, 160Kbps): 1.2MB per minute, 72MB per hour

-Music streaming/downloading (320Kbps): 2.4MB per minute, 144MB per hour

-iPlayer video: 50MB to 225MB per hour

-Netflix video, SD: up to 0.7GB per hour

-Netflix video, HD: 1GB to 2.8GB per hour

-Photo uploading: 5MB per photo

-Online gaming: 5MB per hour

[sources: Spotify, BBC, Netflix, Verizon Wireless]

Clear as mud?

Well based on watching an episode of Coronation Street (50MB), checking twitter for 2 minutes (2MB), posting a picture to Instagram (5MB) and streaming a few tracks from Spotify (24MB at average quality) whilst out of wifi coverage you will use around 81MB per day. So if you do that day-in and day-out you will use around 1.6GB in a short month. Bear in mind this doesn’t even include your email and smartphone app updates.

Ok so you’re not a video or music lover but like your social media. (Got to say this is where most of my data goes, having twitter and LinkedIn constantly open.) So if you post five pictures to various sites (5MB each) & spend fifteen minutes per day wandering around Facebook (5Mb in total) that quickly stacks up to 30MB per day. Meaning you will have used 84% of your monthly 1GB monthly data allowance (our average 3G smartphone customer bolt on). Again, this figure doesn’t include email or app updates. (And who spends only 15 mins a day on FB, let’s be realistic.)

What should you do about your data then?

A solution that we seem to be regularly providing to customers, is that of tethering* a mobile wifi device** (mi-fi). Most web pages now average 1MB, so it won’t take long to rack up 50MB of data on a basic search. Meaning you can soon smash the 1GB of inclusive data. We usually recommend a minimum of 2GB of data if you are looking to do this. Most of our 4G packages come with 4GB of data so you should be fine with most of the scenarios we come across. Just like anything – if you’re not sure how much data you’re going to use just ask and we will see what bundle best suits your requirements.

Don’t want to up your data bundle?

I’d suggest you look at downloading a data usage app (plenty to find on the Play Store and in the iTunes store) – this will help you to see which apps on your phone are using what. (Basically telling you what the duck is doing under the surface.) The one I use notifies me at set points within my bundle and also allows me to keep an eye on where I am during the month. Remember you can always switch off mobile data in the phone settings*** – ideal if you’re hitting the limit – and then just connect on wifi. As 4G becomes more widespread (I now get a strong signal now round Huddersfield and Halifax), data usage is only going to get greater, so keep an eye on what you are using and don’t forget to check that your phone is picking up wifi where it can.

As always if in doubt just get in touch we will be happy to help.

*(connecting your mobile by Bluetooth or cable to laptop or tablet to enable data usage when no wifi is available)

**(portable wifi connection, an absolute essential purchase for multi device users, sub heading parents or regular hotel or in my case caravan users.)

***(press and hold side button for options e.g. on Samsung Galaxy models)

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