Saving mobile phone data usage within your household

Apart from the cost of a mobile device, mobile data is the most expensive part of every consumers mobile monthly cost. Data usage has been steadily rising since 2016 but not as quickly as most consumers think. The average data usage in 2016 was 1.7GB of data, in 2017 this rose to 2.8GB of data and 2018 reached 4.1 GB of data. The average consumer in the UK purchases a 16GB data plan meaning they overspend on their monthly tariff.


Data usage comes in many forms. Browsing the web, checking out Facebook and watching funny cat videos are all high data usage activities. Understanding how data is used on your device is essential to getting the right plan.

Most mobile phone users are organised and keep their number of APP’s down to a manageable level. Some however don’t, these consumers are usually unaware of the amount of data usage required to keep these apps updated on the move.


The number off apps is not always a core driver of data usage, the specific apps downloaded can be the main issue. Email apps and messenger apps use minimal data but core apps like Facebook, YouTube and snapchat can make data disappear very quickly. These apps all appear in the current top ten installed apps chart.


Depending on how a consumer uses their device influences the data required for each user. Understanding that usage is essential for every consumer to make the right choice and spend the required amount on their plan. You can use an online calculator to work out if you’d be better off with a contract or SIM only deal.


Source – YouTube, Skype, Snapchat, Watching Tele and Facebook are all high data users.

The average cost of a monthly phone plan in the UK is £45.60. The number of phone plans per household has increased and 40% of homes now have 2 plans, 18% have three plans and 16% have four or more. That means on average a two-plan household spends £1,094.40 per year on their mobile phone plan.


As most plans now have unlimited minutes and texts there are two major cost implications to a mobile phone plan. The device and the data plan. If consumers take some actions to understand and control their data usage the monthly phone bill would drop drastically.

1 – Check what data is required

Knowing what data you need is a key factor of driving down a monthly tariff. As most users only use 4.1GB of data its likely most consumers are paying too much. Checking the previous three months data usage on your device will show you what you really need. Only sign up to a data plan that matches your usage and don’t but into a higher price just because you feel you are getting a better deal.

Researching this will also ensure you never get any bills for data addons. Data addons are usually expensive with some plans charging £5 per 250MB! 

2 – Deactivating or deleting apps

App usage drains data. This does depend on what you use but all apps need to update. Turning off auto update allows you choose what you want to update and saves on data being used without your knowledge. 

Deleting unused apps is a must. Many consumers download apps that are used once and then clog up the app tray. These apps all update at some point which uses data without the consumer realising. You can set your device to ask permission to update any app which helps you find those apps that never get used.

3 – Streaming vs Downloading

Music and movies can be downloaded and with current handsets have such high storage and memory its worth doing. Download what you want onto your device when using broadband and WIFI and save streaming on the move.

4 – Connecting to WIFI

Most of us spend 90% of our life at home or at work. 99% all have WIFI. Laziness is a common reason for not connecting so get the code and hook into the WIFI and save your data.

Keeping the cost of your monthly tariff down is simple. Do your research, manage your phone properly and take advantage of the fact that most venues in the UK have free WIFI! As most houses have multiple plans this can be a considerable saving of hundreds of pounds a year.

Disclosure – This is a collaborative post.