How Much Mobile Data Do I Need?

Learn how much data you should look for in your mobile plan with Savvy’s handy guide.

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, updated on June 18th, 2024       

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How Much Mobile Data Do I Need?

In today's digital world, mobile data is essential for staying connected. But with so many different data plans available, it can be tough to know how much data you actually need. Whether you’re an avid social media user, a streaming enthusiast or simply need data for essential tasks, it’s important to find the right balance.

In this informative guide, Savvy delves into the factors that influence your mobile data consumption and provides tips for choosing the right data plan for your needs.

What factors influence the amount of mobile data I require for a mobile plan?

The amount of mobile data you need depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Your data usage habits: what do you do on your phone most often? If you stream video, play online games or use data-heavy apps frequently, you’ll need a plan with more data.
  • Your lifestyle: if you’re often in places with Wi-Fi access, you won’t need as much mobile data. But if you’re frequently on the go, you’ll need a plan with more data.
  • Your devices: different devices use mobile data differently. For example, a smartphone will use more data than a smartwatch. And if you have multiple devices on one plan, make sure your data allowance is enough for all of them.
  • Your future needs: your data needs may change over time. For example, if you’re planning to start streaming video on your phone, you'll need to get a plan with more data.

It's important to consider all of these factors when choosing a mobile data plan. By doing so, you can choose a plan that meets your individual needs and avoids overage charges and other additional costs.

How can I estimate my mobile data usage accurately to choose the right plan?

You can keep an eye on your current data usage using your phone or your provider’s app. This helps you track how much data you use every month. 

Many providers also offer online tools that help you figure out how much data you need based on what you do with your phone. If you watch a lot of videos, for example, these tools will suggest a plan with more data. 

Using these digital tools is a smart way to understand your data habits and make sure you pick the right plan. It’s all about avoiding paying for data you don't need or running out of data before the month is over. 

Track your data usage for a month or two to get a more accurate estimate of your needs. This is especially helpful if you're not sure which category you fall into. As a guide, this is how much each category uses:

  • Light data user: 1–10GB per month
  • Average data user: 10–40GB per month
  • Heavy data user: 50GB+ per month

What are the typical data allowances for mobile plans?

Mobile plans in Australia offer different amounts of data. Some plans start with just 1GB of data per month. These are good for people who don't use much data, mainly for basic things like texting and emailing. 

There are also plans with 10GB to 30GB of data. These are for regular smartphone users who do a bit of everything like social media, emails, streaming some videos and casual gaming. 

And then there are plans with lots of or even unlimited data. These are for heavy users who watch lots of videos, play games online and use data-hungry apps. 

When you're choosing a plan, think about how you use your phone. Getting too much data might mean paying for things you don't need, but getting too little can lead to extra charges or running out of data too soon. So, pick a plan that fits your style. 

How can I save on my mobile data?

Whether it’s because you have a plan with a low data allowance or want to save money on your mobile plan, there are a number of ways to limit your data usage:

  • Use Wi-Fi whenever possible: Wi-Fi is faster and more reliable than mobile data, and it's also free to use in most places.
  • Turn off mobile data when you’re not using it: this will help to prevent your device from using data in the background.
  • Use data-saving features: many apps offer data-saving features that can help to reduce your data consumption.
  • Be mindful of your data usage: pay attention to the types of activities you're doing on your mobile device and be mindful of how much data they're using.

Top tips for choosing the right mobile data plan

Compare plans from different providers

Different providers offer different plans with different prices and data allowances. It is important to compare plans from different providers to find the best deal for your needs.

Consider a plan with unlimited data

Unlimited data plans can be a good value if you use a lot of data each month.

Look for plans that offer data rollover

This means you can carry over any unused data to the next month. This can be helpful if you do not always use all of your data each month but may need more on certain months.

Evaluate add-on data packages

If you occasionally need extra data, check if providers may offer add-on data packages for temporary boosts in data allowances.

Read the fine print

Read the terms and conditions of each plan carefully before you choose one. Pay attention to things like data overage charges, early termination fees and any other potential hidden costs.

Frequently asked questions about mobile data usage

What happens if I use up all my data or go over my data limit?

If you use up all of your mobile data or go over your data limit on a prepaid plan, your internet access will stop working. You will not be able to access the internet until you top up your account with more data.

If you use up all of your mobile data or go over your data limit on a postpaid plan, you will either be charged overage fees or your data speed will be throttled, which means that your internet speed will be reduced, making it difficult to stream videos and music or download files.

What are some common apps that use a lot of mobile data?

Apps that can use a lot of mobile data include:

  • Streaming video apps like Netflix and YouTube
  • Music streaming apps like Spotify and Apple Music
  • Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter)
  • Gaming apps
  • GPS navigation apps
Can I use my mobile data abroad?

Yes – you can generally use your mobile data abroad, depending on your mobile plan. However, you will likely be charged roaming fees. Roaming fees can vary depending on your mobile provider and the country you are visiting, but they can be expensive, so it is important to be aware of them before you travel.   

To save money on roaming fees, you can purchase a travel pass or roaming add-on from your mobile provider, or you can purchase a local SIM card from a mobile provider in the country you are visiting. You can also use Wi-Fi whenever possible to avoid using your mobile data.

What is the difference between mobile data and Wi-Fi?

Mobile data is the internet that you can access on your phone when you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi is a wireless internet connection that is typically faster and more reliable than mobile data. It is also free to use in many places.

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Compare mobile plans with Savvy

Whether you're looking for basic prepaid mobile plan or a postpaid contract with a choice of extra features, you can compare a range of offers from leading Australian providers side by side with Savvy. Get started with a free, no-obligation quote today!

Disclaimer:

Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of mobile phone plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys a mobile phone plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing a mobile phone plan. For further information on the variety of mobile phone plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.