If you’ve set up a mobile broadband package, or are thinking of doing so, then it is a good idea to get a feel for the amount of data you are likely to use and how much it will cost you. This way you won’t exceed your limits or be shocked by a large bill! With that in mind let’s take a look at what you can expect to get from a package or pay as you go plan.
How much data can you use?
Your internet usage through mobile broadband packages is calculated in terms of the amount of Gigabytes you use per month. For example, a common package will offer Between 500MB and 10GB a month while a large package might offer 15GB or even ‘unlimited’. However, if you’re package is ‘unlimited’ be warned that this will come with a ‘fair usage agreement’ that means you are still limited; though this tends to only cause issues if you use your mobile internet for extensive downloading and data transfers.
1GB is equal to 1024MB, while in turn 1MB is equal to 1024KB, which means you can transfer 1024MB of data for each GB in your package or 1048576KB of data. With pay as you go packages you can either pay a daily fee or a price/GB. When you’re thinking about a mobile broadband package you should consider the following facts concerning average data transfers for certain activities;
- 1 hour of instant messaging with use up to 1MB of data.
- 1 hour of web browsing will use between 2 and 25MB of data.
- A 1 hour Skype call will use 180MB of data while a video call will use 220MB.
- Downloading a photo will use up to 2MB of data – depending on the file type and size.
- Downloading an MP3 will use up to 8MB.
- Downloading a short film will use 5-75MB.
- Downloading software will use anything up to a few GB!
- Downloading a standard film will use up to 2GB of data.
- Streaming an hour of video will use up to 500MB of data.
- Streaming an hour in HD will use between 1 and 2 GB.
Before taking out any mobile broadband contract it is a very good idea to consider how much you are likely to use the service. Bear in mind that the figures listed above are only estimates AND that different providers calculators also seem to vary. But if you have an idea of how you tend to use the internet you can estimate how much data you will need and what contract will suit you best. If you tend to just browse the internet and not stream or download then a pay as you go package will likely be the cheapest option. If you are a heavy user then make sure you have an unlimited package AND understand what your ‘fair use policy’ entails.
How to monitor your mobile broadband use
If you decide to take out a mobile package then it is a good idea to monitor your use to make sure you know how much you will end up paying and how much you have left at any point. The majority of mobile broadband software has a monitor installed already and you can simply click on the portal to see how much you have used. When you take out a policy check what your excess fees might be so that you are aware exactly what you will pay if you go over. Finally make sure you monitor your use and if it is going up more than you expect it to check that you don’t have background programs using the internet!