Did you know that almost half of Austrailian mobile users go over the data included in their plans, at a combined cost of $313m per year?
A 2017 Australian Communication and Media Authority research project found that the average Australian mobile phone handset subscriber uses around 6.3 GB of data per month.
That’s far less than the average plan inclusion, meaning some people are using less, and others a great deal more.
This wide variety of usage means that it’s essential to get the right amount of data for your own needs and avoid paying extra.
According to research published in January this year, the global mobile usage population is calculated to be at around 3.7 billion unique users – 4.2 billion are active internet users, while 3.4 billion mostly used social media.
That number is increasing rapidly.
In 2021, mobile data traffic may reach 49 exabytes per month across the world.
43% of Australians say that they are exceeding their monthly data limits often, or very often.
Those who are on 3 GB plans are twice as likely to exceed their limits than those who have 500 MB of data.
How Much Data Do I Need Per Month
If you use the internet on your mobile every day, you stream quite a lot of videos, and use social media a lot, 50 GB is enough data to last you the whole month.
If you’re not a heavy internet user and you don’t stream many videos, 15 GB is enough to last you the whole month.
|Data usage||Data per month|
|Light (few minutes per day)||1-2GB|
|Medium (1-2 hours per day)||3-6GB|
|Heavy (3-4 hours per day)||7-9GB|
|Very heavy (5-7 hours per day)||10GB+|
Where Does the Data Go?
Do you know what is using up your mobile data?
From social media usage to video calls, voice calls, downloading content and more, everything uses mobile data.
However, the most likely applications to be using a lot of data are mobile videos and e-commerce traffic.
According to statistics, mobile video traffic alone is projected to grow by 55% annually through until 2021.
As data needs increase, better value mobile phone plans often become available.
If you’re going over your data limit and haven’t revisited your plan in a while, it’s highly likely that a better deal is out there.
But with data needs increasing, how much mobile data you actually need?
The exact calculation of how much data you might need takes a number of factors into account.
Every customer’s data needs are different, and every data plan comes at a different price.
Choosing a data plan should take into account the minimum data that you need, but also selecting the lowest cost you can get away with.
To get some idea of how much data your online entertainment uses, have a look at the average data usage:
- Watching a 2 Hour Movie: 9GB
- Watching a 2 Hour Movie In HD: 4.2GB
- Streaming 1 Hour of Videos- 644MB
- Streaming Music For 1 Hour: 80MB
- One Song Download: 4-8 MB
- One Film Trailer: 60-100MB
There are plenty of great resources to help you understand where you use your data.
Data usage can also change depending on what quality of media you download, so the amounts listed here are just a rough guide.
How Do You Check Your Data Usage?
Most smartphones track overall data usage on their own. They break down the data usage by the app so that you can see how much of your data is being drained by a particular app.
- Go to Settings
- Tap on the Data Usage option
The data usage section shows you your total data usage for a given data range. Once you know how much data you use, you can even set a data warning that will turn the mobile data off automatically as you reach the limit.
If you are an iPhone user-
- Open Settings
- Tap on Mobile Data/Cellular
- Check data usage and monitor your current usage.
You can also track the data for each app. If your data usage has changed, you might want to scroll down to Reset Statistics and then start monitoring from a specific date and time.
If you see that the data used is more than expected, you have the option to turn off your mobile data or reduce your mobile data usage.
How To Manage Your Data Usage
If you do go over your data limit on occasion, or if you exceed your limit often but can’t afford a more expensive plan, some tools can help you keep your data usage in check.
- Switch to a Prepaid Plan: Prepaid Plans are a foolproof way of saving extra charges on data plans. If you cross your monthly limit, you won’t be able to use data until you top-up.
- Get Plans With Data Rollover: There are some mobile data plan offers from providers like Telstra and OVO Mobile that add up your unused data into your allowance for next month.
- Use Apps or Phone Settings to Control Usage. There are plenty of apps available that can track and control your mobile usage. If you’d rather not download an app, most phones have some inbuilt way to keep an eye on your usage.
- Consider Using Wi-Fi: Connecting to Wi-Fi whenever possible is the easiest way to manage data. Using Wi-Fi, you can download and stream your content without worrying about data.
Make sure you revisit your data plan and adjust according to your current needs.
A good way to track your usage trends is to monitor your data usage habits every two months and check your bill.
If your usage works with your current plan, there’s probably no need to change.
If you are consistently going over or under your data limits, it might be the time to seek better value and switch your plan.