When you’re choosing a mobile data plan for your phone, it’s easy to get stuck on the data allowance. Do you guess how big your plan should be? Our statistics show that you probably don’t need as much as you think you do and going for a plan with less data might save you a few pounds a month.
According to our research, two thirds of UK residents (67%) don’t normally use all the mobile data they pay for. In fact, 69% of people within this figure say they “never” reach their monthly allowance. This indicates that many of us are paying for a load of data that we don’t use and could cut our monthly bills.
Only 12% of respondents say they have a suitable mobile data plan and usually use all the data they pay for.
Is anyone underestimating their monthly data usage? We found that this is much rarer – around 1 in 20 (6%) in our survey exceed their monthly data allowance and pay for more, while another 7% exceed their limit but don’t shell out for more gigabytes.
A lucky 7% of us never have to worry as we have unlimited data plans and a fifth (19%) don’t bother with a plan (because they have pay-as-you-go or don’t have a mobile).
According to our research, more women than men find themselves paying for data they don’t need, as 68% of British women with a phone plan say they don’t use all their data whereas 66% of men thought this.
Baby boomers are the generation most likely not to reach their monthly data quota. Over three quarters (77%) say they use less than their data allowance and only 4% pay for more data. Postmillenials, born after 1996, are the generation most likely to pay for additional data, with 14% saying they do so.
Residents of Wales appear to use the least data – 72% say they use less than their limit and only 4% of the Welsh feel the need to top up. Least likely to spend their money on more data are those in the East Midlands, where 1% buys extra data at the end of the month.
At the other end of the scale is Northern Ireland, where over half (55%) of residents see their monthly usage stay within the limit and a quarter (25%) reach their limit. Northern Ireland is also the region where people spend the most on extra data each month, as 14% (twice the UK average) buy a few extra gigs to roam around the net.
Yorkshire and the Humber
Use less than they're allowed
Normally use the right amount
Reach their data limit most months
Spend more on extra data
Jon’s top tips:
To avoid getting sold a plan that charges you for data you don’t need, or to just cut down on how much data you use, here are some top tips:
Your network provider may offer an app that will allow you to track your data usage – take a look at this information before you take out a contract so you can select a plan that matches your data usage
Free Wi-Fi is often available in restaurants and cafes now, so always be on the lookout for this to reduce data usage
Some phones have settings where you can set up warnings and limits on data levels
You can surf the web using less data than normal with Android’s “Lite mode”
If you plan to listen to music or podcasts on the go, download them before you head out to avoid streaming
If your usage tends to fluctuate each month, opting for a contract that allows you to pass on any unused data to the next month could be an excellent option for you
“It is now commonplace for most Brits to browse the web on their phones throughout the day and this requires a fair amount of data. However, there are lots of ways that you can preserve your data allowance and our research shows that many Brits appear to be overestimating how much data they need.”
– Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com
Finder.com commissioned Onepoll to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
For all media enquiries, please contact
Matt Mckenna UK communications manager M: +44 747 921 7816 T: +44 20 3828 1338
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Matthew Boyle is a mortgages and home services publisher at Finder. He has a 7-year history of publishing helpful guides to assist consumers in making better decisions. In his spare time, you will find him walking in the Norfolk countryside admiring the local wildlife.
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