Mobile Broadband – How Much Data Do I Need?

People need to become more conscious of their data consumption as mobile broadband is fast becoming the main means of communication. src

More people are now more likely to exceed or underuse their data allowances

Data-intensive activities like social media chats, file sharing, video calls, and web browsing have now become second nature to us. One of the easiest ways to access these data activities if by opting for a mobile broadband plan. But with increasing online activity, we might run through data inclusions faster than we hope to, and sometimes we might end up using a lot less data than we bought.

So how much data do you really need? Reports show that in 2020, an average person is likely to consume at least 30% more data than the previous year. And with the global coronavirus pandemic, data usage is even higher as a sizable chunk of the world population stays home. For instance, Vodafone recently reported a 50% surge in their customers Internet usage. With the massive surge in data consumption owing to the lockdown, the cost of data is quickly adding up for many people.

59 percent of the world population uses the Internet

59 percent of the world population uses the Internet. src

Unfortunately, there’s no general formula for calculating how much data you really need and you have to make do with estimations. But we’ve put together a few tips that should help you make a pretty good estimation on your mobile broadband data needs.

How much mobile broadband data do you need for personal use?

HD or 4K movie

Each HD or 4K movie can take anywhere from 1 -3 GB to download, and therefore requires data allowance in the medium – high range. src

On average, mobile broadband users are expected to use about 4GB every month for personal reasons. But you only need a fraction of that amount if you’re a light user. With about 1GB in a month, you can browse the web for some 30 minutes – 1 hour per day – stream music for a few hours, and download a movie or two (4K and HD movies can take up few gigabytes, though).

But with 2GB – 4GB, you can browse the web, use social media, and stream music for a few hours a day, and also download 2 – 4 low-medium quality movies in a month.

If you want to enjoy many more hours of surfing social media and the web and streaming music and videos, you need to opt for data plans a bit higher above the median range. 8GB of data can allow you to stream a few hours of SD-quality videos per day, but your allowance burns up faster with higher video quality. If you stick to low or medium definition streaming, your 8GB allowance should also allow for up to 6 hours of web browsing daily. If you want to throw in music streaming, you might need to cut down the video streaming to an hour or two in as many days.

Heavy personal use that includes several hours of music and video streaming and web surfing will require no less than 15 – 20 GB per month.

How much mobile broadband data do you need for professional use?

Professionals who use the internet for their work need at least 3 hours of web surfing, 1 hour of video streaming (perhaps for virtual meetings like Zoom as well), and probably a few hours of music or audio streaming. As such, on the low end, professionals using the internet need at least 30GB data per month.

50GB can give you up to 3 – 4 hours of web browsing, 2 – 4 hours of video streaming. You can also opt for this much allowance for personal use if you want to cover hours of web browsing while also enjoying up to 2 movie downloads every day.

On the high end, some professionals need at least 2 – 5 hours of video streaming and video calls, at least 6 hours of browsing the web, and some more data for running data-driven applications on their computer. This level of heavy professional use requires an average of 80GB – 100GB monthly data allowance.

You might need as much mobile broadband data if you’re currently running an ecosystem of multiple devices each purposed for specific tasks.

Summing up

You can get a good estimate of how much mobile data you need by considering how many hours of web surfing, music and video streaming, and movie downloads you want to enjoy per month. If you’re a heavy user and want to avoid extra data costs, you’ll be much better off with unlimited mobile broadband from Australian telco companies, which allow you to use the internet for the rest of the month without any extra charges after your allowance is exhausted.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.