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How much data do I need?

mobile data consumption
mobile data consumption

Trying find the right mobile phone tariffs or mobile phone tariffs, mobile phone users need to know their data needs. This helps to avoid additional costs or any speed throttling. If you just check your emails, use a messenger like WhatsApp and otherwise browse occasionally, you can easily cope with a data volume of 200 megabytes (MB) per month. Data-intensive applications consume significantly more volume: watch videos, download music or send photos.

Rule of thumb for determining the required data volume: 1,024 kilobytes equals 1 megabyte. 1,024 megabytes equals 1 gigabyte.

Data Consumption Overview

Videos: Particularly high data consumption
No smartphone application drives mobile data consumption as much as video. Important to know: The consumption of data volume is the same when sending or downloading a video.r

Facebook: around 3 megabytes (MB) per minute. Videos are played automatically on many smartphones. Tip: Change the autoplay function via the app settings or in the browser. It will only be active or completely switched off in WLAN networks.

Youtube: Data consumption depends on the quality of the video. Depending on the resolution, around 5 (lowest quality) to 30 MB (Full HD quality) per minute. Tip: Specify in the app settings under the “Quality” that HD videos are only started with a WiFi connection.

Whatsapp: Uploaded smartphone videos are between 12 and 20 MB in size every minute when a video is stored on the smartphone. Whatsapp blocks delivery for more than 16 MB. Tip: If the WhatsApp record function is used, a comparable video is only 5 to 6 MB in size. The Whatsapp camera can be opened directly in the chat.

Snapchat: Requires a lot of data because the content is constantly reloaded in the background. This can result in an additional 10 MB per day. If you watch a minute of video (“snaps”), you will be consuming around 15 MB of data. Tip: Select the data saving mode in the app settings under “More options”, this prevents automatic loading.

What happens if the data volume is exceeded?

If the data volume is used up, “throttling” takes place – this applies to almost all data packages. Access to the internet is then possible, but the applications then take considerably longer to load: The speed is reduced (usually to a maximum of 64 kilobits / s). Many users think that browsing the mobile internet with restricted data speeds to be unreasonable. In exceptional cases, access may not be restricted, but smartphone users must expect high additional costs. Real data flat rates with unlimited data usage are very rare. The provider O2 had recently set the throttling to 1 megabit/s.

The right data tariff: the volume makes the price

The data consumption of smartphone users has been increasing for years. Accordingly, tariffs with up to 50 gigabytes of unrestrained data volume as well as “real”, unrestricted flat rates (at Telekom, Telefonica and Vodafone) are available today – but for alot of money.

Good data offers with 1 GB LTE data volume and telephone and SMS flat rates are available from US$5 (with a 24-month term).
Large tariffs for frequent surfers include 10 GB and more and costs are starting from US$25.

A comparison provides a good overview of the offers. There is a choice of complete offers, various upgrades – or tariffs with additional options that can be booked, such as music or gaming flat rates.

On the other hand, those who need extra data volumes usually pay extra. For 250 megabytes extra, network operators charge between US$4-5, some even US$6.

Important to know: 3G is switched off – switch to LTE now
3G is about to end. From 2020, UMTS will be switched off at more and more locations within Europe. Consumers without an LTE contract automatically fall back into the 2G network.

Data-saving tricks

Avoiding high data consumption can help to avoid throttling. The following applies: The more often users access the network via WiFi, the longer their data flat rate lasts – and they usually browse faster. There is free access to wireless internet, for example, in hotels, cafes or many inner cities. However, one should not forget the possiblity of security risks.

If you use the mobile version of a website with your smartphone or tablet, you consume significantly less data. So-called data counter apps, which provide an overview of the amount of data used, are also helpful. If it turns out that your surfing behavior exceeds the limits of the flat rate, the user can reduce the data consumption with a few simple steps. It starts with the settings of the mobile browser. Images and videos on websites consume a lot of data. It is therefore advisable to stop loading the images. The settings for updates, downloads and messages should be regulated so that the user can determine the time of the download himself.