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Demystifying Data

Data explained

When talking data, it means the internet connection on your device. When you use the internet on your mobile or tablet, you’re using data. For example, you might be:


  • Browsing websites
  • Checking or sending emails (emails with attachments use more data)
  • Downloading music, videos, apps or games
  • Using apps or games
  • Using social media
  • Using maps or a Sat Nav
  • Using business apps or office tools:  such as work emails or VPNs
  • Uploading pictures or videos


Most of our tariffs come with a monthly data allowance in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). Once you’ve used your allowance, you have three options:


  • Upgrade your tariff on an on-going basis.
  • Buy a one-off bolt on
  • Simply wait for your bill date to reset your data allowance


One way to make your allowance go further is to use wifi whenever you can. That way, you save your data allowance for when you’re on the move. We’ve got thousands of free hotspots across the UK where you can use as much O2 Wifi as you want - without paying a penny.


Data consumption

Downloading films or TV shows eats the most data. Sending and receiving work emails with large attachments all day can use just as much. Here are a few examples, to give you a rough idea.


Email - Without attachments, the average e mail is around 10KB for personal emails – or 20 to 30KB, for work. With attachments, it can be anything from 500K for one photo to several MB for large documents.


Websites - Depending on how flashy, the average website takes around 5ooKB to load. And an hour of browsing takes around 15MB.


Social media - Twitter uses very little data – Facebook uses more. Tweeting a message uses about 500KB, but if you’re uploading lots of photos, it’ll use more.


Apps and games - Downloading utilities takes under 10MB – games take around 30MB or more. Playing games online will use more – roughly 60MB an hour.


Music - One song takes around 3 to 10MB.


Video clips, TV shows and films - An average video clip’s about 1.5MB, a TV show’s around 37.5 MB and a film approximately 225MB. In HD, it’s more like 3MB for a clip, 95MB for a TV show and 570MB for a film.


Sat Nav - Depending on how far you’re going, an average trip takes 15MB (based on 500KB for every screen refresh).
How much data does the average person need each month?
Roughly speaking:


500MB a month is enough to:


  • Browse for 6 hours
  • Send 8,000 emails without attachments or 160 with attachments
  • Download 8 songs
  • Watch 6 clips or 2o minutes of TV


1GB a month is enough to:        


  • Browse for 11 hours
  • Send 16,000 emails without attachments 300 with attachments
  • Download 17 songs
  • Watch 11 clips or 4o minutes of TV


2GB a month is enough to:       


  • Browse for 22 hours
  • Send 33,000 emails without attachments or 660 with attachments
  • Download 33 songs
  • Watch 22 clips or 80 minutes of TV


3GB a month is enough to:       


  • Browse for 33 hours
  • Send 50,000 emails without attachments or 1,000 with attachments
  • Download 50 songs
  • Watch 33 clips or 120 minutes of TV.


The easiest way to work out how much you might need is to use our handy calculator or the My O2 app.


What data costs

You can see our latest data pricing here
Keeping up to date with your data usage
You can download the My O2 app on your iPhone or Android. Sign in and go to My Allowances and choose Data. You’ll see a breakdown of all the data you’ve used and what’s left.


If you don’t have an iPhone or Android, sign in to your account at o2.co.uk or o2.co.uk/myo2business if you’re a business customer. 


We’ll help you stay on top of how much data you’re using by sending you a text when you’ve reached 80% usage of your allowance and again when you’ve reached 100%.  When you’ve reached 100%, we’ll help you avoid running up a data bill by stopping your access and asking you if you want to buy more to keep going.


Getting more data?

If you’re getting through your monthly allowance and still need to use data, you can simply buy a one- off bolt on to keep you going until your next bill date when your allowance resets or trade up your data package permanently.  You can simply do this by calling 2202 free from your O2 mobile or by signing in to your account at o2.co.uk or using the My O2 app.  Don’t forget, you can continue to use wifi to save your data allowance.



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