How Much Data Is Enough? How Long Will Your Data Last?

how much data do i need
how much data do i need

Data has become an important part of our daily lives. You can even go so far as to say that we can’t live without it. Yes! WiFi is essential, but have you ever had the need to go online when outside a WiFi zone and realised you’ve run out of data and have no way of connecting? It’s terrifying. How else would you occupy yourself in awkward social situations, or avoid having to make awkward small talk with an overly friendly stranger? I mean you can only pretend to text people on your calculator for so long. Clearly, data is vital, however, you have to find the right balance. On the one hand, you don’t want to run out of data, but on the other, you don’t want to spend money on data you won’t use. So how much data do I need?

To help, we’ve gathered all the information needed for you to determine how much data you need as an individual, since not everyone uses their data the same way. One person might use it all for WhatsApp, while others are addicted to watching YouTube videos. There is no one size that fits all. 

Let’s take a look at the different data amounts you can get and which activities use the most data to decide how many gigabytes of data are is suitable for you.

how much data do i need

Data Allowances

Most mobile networks have mobile phone price plans with varying amounts of data, depending on the contract. More affordable price plans will usually give you around 500 MB (half a Gigabytes) of data. As you pay more for a plan, the amount of data you receive also increases, with a few of the more high-end contracts offering up to 100 GB of data per month. Some plans may even go so far as to offer an unlimited amount of data. However, these are typically quite pricy, and few people use more than 4.5 GB of data per month, so it is unnecessary for most people to have this much data.

What Can You Do With Various Data Allowances?

Most networks give you a monthly data allowance that expires at the end of each month, even if you have not used it all. This is why it is essential that you figure out the right amount of data you need for the activities you do.

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How Long Does 1GB of Data Last?

1GB (1000 MB) is suitable for light users who use their mobiles for basic activities such as sending emails, listening to music apps or browsing the web. 1GB of data won’t be enough for people that are very active on social media or who frequently stream videos, as these apps will devour such a small amount of data within a few hours. 

1GB of data allows for one of the following:

  • 12 hours of web browsing
  • 20 minutes of social media a day
  • 2000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • 22 hours of music
  • Up to 2 low-quality films

How Long Does 2GB of Data Last?

While significantly more than 1GB, 2GB is still not enough data for people glued to their mobiles. This amount is aimed at people who don’t need to use data too often. And while it is suitable for browsing the web and social media, it is not recommended for those who like to stream many videos.

2GB of data allows for one of the following:

  • 24 hours of web browsing
  • 40 minutes of social media a day
  • 4000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • 45 hours of music
  • Up to 4 films

How Long Does 4GB of Data Last?

With 4 GB, you don’t have to worry about running out of data. If you don’t spend all day on your mobile, that is. This amount of data even allows you to stream a few films each month if you keep an eye on how much data you use for each activity.

4GB of data allows for one of the following:

  • 48 hours of web browsing
  • 90 minutes of social media a day
  • 8000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • 90 hours of music
  • Up to 8 films

How Long Does 8GB of Data Last?

With 8 GB, you can comfortably use data and stream videos without worrying about running out. If you’re someone who likes spending time on YouTube or is obsessed with social media, this amount of data is right up your alley.

8GB of data allows for one of the following:

  • 96 hours of web browsing
  • 3 hours of social media a day
  • 16 000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • 180 hours of music
  • Up to 16 films

How Long Does 20GB of Data Last?

20GB of data gives you the opportunity to do so much more on your mobile. Streaming, browsing and messaging daily is no problem, and you will rarely run out of data with such a high amount, especially if you are only browsing the web.

20GB of data allows for:

  • 240 hours of web browsing
  • 40 000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • Or 2 hours of web browsing, 2 hours of video and 4 hours of streaming music daily

How Long Does 50GB of Data Last?

Few people need as much as 50GB data, but it is ideal for people who don’t have WiFi at home or spend hours commuting each day.

50 GB of data allows for:

  • 600 hours of web browsing
  • 100 000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • Or 3 hours of web browsing, 3 hours of music and 2 films daily

How Long Does 100GB of Data Last?

100 GB of data allows you to stream and browse to your heart’s content. So much data allows you to stream both music and videos for hours each day, without the risk of running out of data. In fact, you will probably have data left at the end of the month. 

While such a high abundance of data is unnecessary for most people, it is nice to know you can stream or browse anywhere at any time.

100GB of data allows for:

  • 1200 hours of web browsing
  • 200 000 emails/instant messages with attachments
  • Or 30 hours of high-quality video streaming

Which Activities Use the Most Data?

The main activities that use data on your mobile phone are:

  • Web browsing
  • Social media
  • Email/Instant messaging
  • Video calling
  • Music streaming
  • Video streaming
  • Online gaming

How much data you buy should depend on which apps you use the most. If you only browse the web or send emails or instant messages, a lower amount of data, such as 2GB, may be suitable. However, if you are very active on social media or like streaming videos and music, a higher amount, such as 20GB, is recommended.

Does 5G Use More Data Than 4G??

While 5G doesn’t use more data than 4G, it does download faster, which means it is more likely to download bigger files and stream higher quality, which will tempt you to use more data. With a 5G connection, streaming apps are likely to default to higher quality which will use more data, so make sure you keep an eye on the settings so that you can switch to a lower quality if you need to save data.


As seen above, if you’re a light user who tends to use data to occasionally browse the web or send emails, having less data is no problem for you. However, if you’re someone who is constantly on their phone, use it to stream or for online gaming, a higher amount of data is best, with at least 20GB being suitable. We can estimate, an average person uses 10GB – 20GB of mobile data per month.

With this information in mind, log into your network’s app or website to see how much data you use and how much you need to get by without excess each month.

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The Mobile Signal Solutions Team is a group of highly skilled and celfi certified professionals providing reliable communication solutions for businesses. With extensive experience in the field and a passion for staying at the forefront of technology, our team has established as an expert in the industry. In addition to our core services, we also share our expertise and industry knowledge through our blog writing. Our blog covers topics related to mobile signal solutions, technology, and best practices to help businesses stay informed and connected.