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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: