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How much data do you actually use?

(32 Posts)
Schooldidi Sat 30-Mar-13 00:08:47

I'm looking for a new mobile phone contract as mine runs out soon. I currently have an ancient phone that doesn't do internet at all, so don't have any idea how much data people would use.

I am imagining that I would maybe use it for mumsnet mostly, and some games on fb sometimes, but how much data would that use in a month? Bearing in mind that I will be at work most of the time and have internet access on the laptop anyway so I won't be constantly on the phone. Do I go for a cheapish tariff with about 250mb, or stretch the extra couple of £ per month for unlimited data?

And any advice about a good smartphone to start with would be great too. I would imagine I want to use it play games mostly blush, and would like it to have a gps so I can use it to try out geocaching.

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 02:44:21

It's not always just a couple of quid extra to get unlimited data, but first I'd ask what network are you with and what others do you know give you coverage in the areas you might want to use the phone (routes to work, to shops, somewhere you may be as a spectator? not suggesting you'd be on MN while watching DC playing sport, but perhaps listening to radio while doing so?)

Have you some sort of limit you'd want to spend each month, and what sort of usage do you already make ? Just asking because there are many options and while some might use 300 minutes, others might use 600, others 1000 to 2000 and some like "unlimited" so they can use whatever they want... Similarly do you use text messages a lot, or would you use them more if you had no set limits?

There may be choices like Virgin Mobile at £ 12 with 1200 minutes and a limit on data or at £ 17 with unlimited data... and other deals are open to Virgin Media customers (or discounts compared with non customers)... and then again, some other choices can work out cheaper (eg Vodafone offers a discount to staff in NHS, I think)

Camera wise, do you want something special or not? Phones go from <1 Mpixel to 2 or 3, 5, 8, and way up into the 12/13 Mpixel range, with prices to match. Just that if you're geocaching, you might be wandering around some pleasant countryside and want to keep some good quality snaps too smile

Schooldidi Sat 30-Mar-13 09:00:19

I'm with Tesco Mobile atm. We get pretty good coverage from everyone round here, except at work where I probably wouldn't be on my phone much anyway and at mils where there are no networks that give any coverage at all because she's in the middle of nowhere.

My current usage is quite little. I don't phone people except in emergencies really so 100 mins would probably cover it, and a couple of hundred texts would probably do as well. I'm only going for a contract rather than payg because I want a decent phone and a contract spreads the cost of that. I'm thinking I would use the internet more than talking or texting, but I'm not sure how much that would be.

Camera is not drastically important to me. I obviously want a camera but I'm not that fussed about it being superb quality, just something to take snaps on.

I've set a limit of £20 per month, but obviously would be very happy if I get something less than that as my current contract is a sim only one which works out at £7.50.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Sat 30-Mar-13 09:08:15

I don't like restrictions but I'm also not paying for unlimited data. I went a 1.5Gb plan on TMob. I never get close, usually around 600 to 800Mb. I like that I don't have to worry about going over (plus TMob don't charge you for exceeding your allowance either).

I use my phone quite a lot for Internet, downloading apps, etc. whilst out of the house (use WiFi at home).

I think 250Mb is way too small though, even for a light user as your smartphone is always connected.

notcitrus Sat 30-Mar-13 09:17:36

I use my phone for internet and email near-constantly. I rarely download video or music, which means I have never exceeded my 100 Mb limit - I pay £10/month for a sim only deal with Three. Only time I've been charged is when I had to call 0870 numbers for work, which weren't included. But I have home WiFi so any downloads at home don't count.

I may look for a better phone soon but at the time I really wanted a physical keyboard so got a 2nd hand DesireZ. No regrets.

I'd go for an HTC as all my friends love them and Samsung's seem to be disliked. Also check the size if you have small hands - I couldn't use lots of models as I have tiny hands!

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 11:35:34

Nosy mode - do you have a GMail account (if you go for an Android phone, you'd need to create one {a} to use the app store but {b} handy as some backup apps can be used which archive settings, contacts, and details of calls and texts (so for example I read my sister's text via my iMac when I checked e-mail even though the phone was down in the kitchen, and if I make or receive any calls, the numbers {and names where known} get saved in my GMail account too) ?

Not suggesting you have to go for Android, but iPhone deals might easily be above £20 quid a month (even for refurbished phones).

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 15:25:52

In general I'd say that some of the charges for some phones within a monthly contract are excessive, so depending on what you end up choosing, you might be better off with a PAYG mobile and then a SIM Only deal.

The high end phones may work out as a better deal on a 24 month contract but the cheaper end phones may be overpriced... But it also depends which network you choose as to how much the deals will cost.

Bunbaker Sat 30-Mar-13 15:33:38

"I'd go for an HTC as all my friends love them and Samsung's seem to be disliked"

Horses for courses really. I prefer Samsung. I think you get used to the operating system your phone has so I prefer Android because that is what I am used to, DD has a Windows phone and loves it and I have never met an iPhone user who doesn't like their phone..

As for data usage. I really only use the internet on my phone if I am out and about and need to check timetables, opening hours etc. I much prefer to use a full sized screen for internet browsing and a proper keyboard for internet forums, so I tend not to use MNwhen out and about.

I have 100MB a month and have never used more than 10 or 20 MB in a month.

LexyMa Sat 30-Mar-13 16:15:23

I am on MN and fb almost every day (I read more than post but I do follow links to S&B recommendations and funnies like buzzfeed and boredpanda) and I have just looked, my data use is 108MB for the whole of March. I also use travel (road/rail problems) websites occasionally, but no data hungry games or radio stations.

Don't know if that helps but you could try a 250MB limit and upgrade your contract if it's not enough. Less likely of them to let you downgrade a contract within the contract time period if you're not using it as much as you thought.

Samsung Galaxy S2, Orange/EE, think my contract was 24 months on 'dolphin' or something, since summer 2011 so I could be in for an upgrade later this year...

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 19:53:13

I've never had a cotract with Orange but they seemed so desperate to keep me when I asked for a PAC they offered me 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500 MB of data for £8 /month (think it is their already reduced 15.50 Panther, currently available on website at 10.50/month).

I didn't tell the guy that I'd already got a contract with T-Mob giving me unlimited mins, texts, and data for effectively less cost than the deal he was offering (TopCashback paid out £101 on a 12 month contract for "Full Monty" SIM deal when it was specially reduced to £16/month. Once you take off the 101 quid it comes down to about £7.75 or less as the effective monthly fee.) I signed up at the very end of January and had the £101 arrive a week ago.

However, I have used 20-30 GB in a month with my contract on Three, and frequently got close to the 600 minutes limit each month, so unlimited data is a more important option for me than the very lowest charges smile

Someone else posted (geeky_stuff but different thread) they were offered 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500 MB data (from O2, I think) for £8/month.

It's why I'm a bit sceptical of signing up for 24 months and paying what seems like far too much over the course of that time (at least for some phones). Have seen T-Mobile contract at £17/month for the Sony Xperia Tipo, but if you buy the Tipo on T-Mob PAYG it is only £49.99 now (+£10 top-up). Just need to unlock it and then have the choice of mobile tariffs...

If you can get a cashback deal some work out to be below £5/month so for a year you'd spend maybe £150 including getting the phone unlocked, and could switch to another network at the end of that time if they had a good deal running. With the phone in a 24 month contract, it'd cost up to £200 for each year and the phone would have no resale value (as it was only quite a low cost in the first place on PAYG).

With some "redemption" deals (eg Tipo on T-Mob at you can get the phone included on a similar tariff (200-300 mins, unlim txt, 500 MB) for £12-£13 but would be tied in for 24 months all the same and the monthly DD would still be around £17 with the onus on user to reclaim cash every few months to drop the effective monthly cost.

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 20:01:44

for OP have you heard of Ovivo ?

They offer a SIM only deal where you pay a one-off fee of £15 and get 150 minutes, 150 texts and 400 MB of data each month (and the £15 is calling credit in case you go over). It gets refreshed every month without any further monthly fee. May be worth using while you look for a regular contract, if you can afford one of the lowish cost smartphones like the Sony Xperia Tipo for £50 (+ top up and unlocking fee).

Ovivo uses the Vodafone network so perhaps look for a PAYG phone in a Vodafone shop and then check if the SIM works without needing to unlock the handset...

Sounds like it might be a good deal for some low usage mobile users (eg grandparents, esp if internet data is low priority, text limit won't be a problem and the 150 minutes mean they can make the odd call {and perhaps their offspring on generous contracts can call back}).

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 20:54:21

T-Mobile does > a SIM Only contract < for £8/month including 250 MB data, 300 minutes to other networks, some minutes to T-Mobile users and 5000 texts.

Add that to a PAYG Sony Tipo for £49.99+£10 and you have a year's use for about £13.50 a month... and can then hunt for a better deal on SIM only (or choose to get an up market phone, or whatever).

Of course, if you buy the phone you could unlock it for about a tenner and then use the Ovivo SIM deal to make the first year with a smartphone cost under 100 quid. (not 400 over course of 2 years and be locked into paying even if a better deal or phone came up).

Schooldidi Sat 30-Mar-13 20:59:08

I've not heard of Ovivo, no. That may well be something to look into. Are the lowish cost smartphones ok for doing the basics? Would the Sony Xperia Tipo let me download apps like candy crush, etc for the kids and be as playable as something like the Samsung S3? Or is there enough difference in quality to make it worth paying the extra? Is the screen good enough to mn on and generally browse the internet, or are more expensive phones better for that?

I'm not interested in any "redemption" deals because I know that I won't remember which months I'm supposed to send things in to claim the redemption, so i would end up paying more than I need to.

I know I'm not going to be getting an iphone, so it looks like something Android would be my best bet. If one of the cheaper phones would be fine it might be better to keep my current sim only contract or go for the Ovivo sim rather than going for a more expensive phone and getting a different contract. There's so much to think about!

atrcts Sat 30-Mar-13 21:01:46

Using Wifi at home really saves the data.

I have an allowance of 750mb per month which sounds a lot but having said that I've recently used 600mb in 2 1/2 weeks through allowing my toddler to use 3G to watch movie clips on BBQ iplayer app and on some toddler games I've installed on the phone. That eats data up faster than anything. Before I allowed him to do that, I was only using about 100mb per month on 3g because of using wifi automatically at home and at family/friends houses.

Because of recently using far too much data I've had to turn it off, which unfortunately also means I can't use google or emails when out and about, but I'd rather than than spend loads of money going over my limit. I'll turn it all back on when the month is renewed again wink

Schooldidi Sat 30-Mar-13 21:06:31

We would defintely be using wifi at home seeing as that's already paid for. And thanks for the warning about toddler games eating data, we'll maybe save the toddler games for the laptop rather than the phone.

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 21:55:55

Have to admit I don't know about "Candy Crush" or similar - but yes, iPhone is in a different price bracket altogether... in my PM to you I mention something called "3G Watchdog" (which I feel sure nannynick may have mentioned in another thread) which can alert you at say 80% and even disable the 3G connection if you keep using data - handy to protect against any excessive charges, though I feel sure Tesco allows you to set a 'cap' on how much can be spent each month so you could set it to prevent you exceeding 7.50 (and keep an Ovivo SIM for emergencies, given your phone will need to be unlocked from T-Mobile to allow the Tesco SIM to work {it's using O2 network, and Ovivo uses Vodafone}

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 22:10:29

Just adding a comment using Sony Tipo phone... Needed to scroll the page up a bit to see second and subsequent lines of text but easily readable and easy to add comments, however verbose : )

I bought SlideIT as a keyboard and it works well on the phones I own.

2kidsintow Sat 30-Mar-13 22:13:40

I've just recently upgraded my phone. I had an HTC wildfire and really liked the way you can easily switch the wifi/mobile data on and off so you know it isn't costing you anything when you don't want to be using it. (Beware setting your fb up to push notifications as that was draining my daughter's credit without her data being switched on on her phone).

Orange was costing my £17.70 a month, inc VAT and they were just about to put up the price again. I've swapped to tesco and now pay £7.50 a month for more calls, enough texts to not worry about, and more data. And even though I bought myself a new unlocked handset for £200 I will still save £60 over 2 years. Plus, their price already includes the Vat, they promise not to raise the price for the duration of your contract, and you can cap the price so it can't cost you more.

My new handset is an HTC desire x and I LOVE it. It has a nice sized screen and a dual processor - so is much quicker than my old phone. It also has a mega battery and out performed all the other ones I was looking at when comparing reviews. Average battery is about 9.5 hours and the desire x battery runs for 20+. I'm getting 3 days use, inc texting, checking up on fb and playing the odd game of 4pics/candy crush etc. Much better.

The Desire X also has something built in that works the same as 3g watchdog, so it will keep an eye on your data usage. I use the wifi at home mostly though.

I was a bit impatient so have another 2 months on orange left, which I am not using, which is a bit of a waste to be honest. Am looking forward to the conversation when I want to cancel the contract. They'd have to massively reduce their costs to make me regret swapping....

Schooldidi Sat 30-Mar-13 22:14:31

I have just ordered a Tipo, from Tesco as it worked out cheaper than buying the T-mobile one with the airtime and unlocking. It should arrive on Thursday so I'll be back to get you if it's not great NetworkGuy wink. It has to be better than my current phone and you're right that I don't particularly want to be locked into 2 years if I decide I don't really like it.

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 22:16:20

For browsing, someone recommended Dolphin web browser (from Google Play app store) which is free, but have to say the MNet App may be OK for reading from a thread but I've found the text box showed nothing of what I was typing so unusable in my view for adding any posts!

Probably better to use Dolphin than the MN App for Android at present!

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 22:19:42

OK, glad they had a sensible price - have to admit I didn't visit Tesco (either website or the superstore - local Tesco Metro has only limited selection)

Theas18 Sat 30-Mar-13 22:20:06

Giffgaff £10 for 1 GB data, 250 mins and unlimited texts is a get deal. No contract etc

Best phone? depends how geeky you are lol. My kids have the Samsung galaxy y which us ok fire them but dh (not very geeky) found it limiting even fore the basics he wanted.

Dh now has a nexus 4 which us lovely -direct from google at about £250. Galaxy s2 about the same but less for your money.

I'm a but of a geek and the galaxy ace/ace 2 and other stuff in the around 200 don't seem very much for the money really-either the baby smartphone or the full blown computer in phone form I think!

Me I have a galaxy note and love it-running on giffgaff nicely.

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 22:24:53

In fact, the Tipo has a 'data usage monitor in the Settings - the Settings seems to have a lot more entries than the Huawei, Vodafone or Samsung Android phones I've been using... still early days with Tipo...

Just found a limit can be set (it has a default of 5 GB which is indicative of 'Rest of World' limits, where O2/Vodafone seem to charge a bomb for 5+ GB) with a lower 'warning limit' and it disables data, so no need to download "3G Watchdog", Schooldidi... it's built in already.

Schooldidi Sat 30-Mar-13 22:30:05

Thanks for the info NetworkGuy, I'm really excited to start playing with it now!!

NetworkGuy Sat 30-Mar-13 22:42:38

Ace is now closer to 100 quid but has limited memory so can annoy with "getting low on storage" message, or problem updating/installing Apps.

Ace 2 is far more up-to-date (though I like the size of the Ace screen and the 5 Mp camera, so will live with it until I can consider getting an Xperia T (faster and more storage and RAM) but around 130-150 I think

Acer Liquid Z2 is another new phone (available from about 90 quid at Asda if you pre-order, not sure when stock due in but only launched March 2013 so probably on a ship from China right now!)...

When I can I'll probably upgrade to the Xperia T (which has dropped in price to just 26 quid a month on Three's One Plan giving 2000 minutes, all you can eat data, 5000 texts and you can link to it from tablet or laptop (tethering)). Has been reduced because the Xperia Z is new "flagship" phone and the "old" Xperia T is now at a bargain price compared with a few months ago.

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