Are you considering taking out a telephone subscription, but are you not quite sure what ‘data’ means? No worries, we are happy to help you on your way. When taking out a telephone subscription, you have probably already noticed that you can choose from different data bundles. But what does this actually mean and how much data do you actually use? And with what? We’ll tell you more about it.
What exactly is data?
The “data” on your phone refers to mobile data, also known as mobile internet. Mobile data is the term used to describe how much data you consume while using apps, streaming music or videos, browsing the web, or sending messages through apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
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When you have a telephone subscription with your mobile provider, you can use a certain amount of mobile data per month. If you have a data bundle of 7 GB, you can use a maximum of 7 GB of data. Depending on your mobile data rate, you can use a certain amount of data per month before you have to pay extra costs for extra data usage. You can compare this to filling up your car.
Just like when you drive a car you have to fill up regularly to keep driving, you also have to top up your mobile data regularly to keep using your smartphone. The provider does this for you on a monthly basis, whereby the provider actually refuels your data bundle.
The more you use your phone for data-intensive activities, such as watching videos and streaming music, the faster your data will be used up and the more often you’ll need to “fill up” to keep using your phone. Just like driving a car, it is important to be conscious of your data usage and to check how much data you have to avoid unnecessary costs.
The bundle as limit
A data bundle is a certain amount of mobile data that you can use during a certain period, for example a month. You can use this mobile data to surf the internet, email, navigate and use apps that require an internet connection. The amount of data you use is measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB).
If you have reached the limit of your data bundle, you can still use mobile data, but then you often pay extra costs. This is also known as exceeding your data limit. It is therefore important to know how much data you use and more importantly: with what you use data.
What things use data?
Apps usually consume data because they connect to the internet. That is why there are many different activities and apps on your smartphone that consume data. These are the main things that use up data on your phone.
1. Watch online videos
Watching online videos on apps like YouTube or Netflix consumes a lot of mobile data. Watching HD videos uses more data than watching standard definition videos. It is therefore important to check whether your data plan has enough data for watching videos and to consider switching to a lower quality level.
2. Stream music
Streaming music through apps like Spotify or Apple Music also consumes mobile data. If you listen to music a lot via your mobile data connection, this can quickly lead to exceeding your data limit. Consider storing music offline or listening over Wi-Fi to limit your data usage.
3. Using social media
If you use apps like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it also consumes mobile data. Viewing images, streaming videos, and scrolling through your feed can all add to your data usage. You may want to consider using these apps less often or using them only when connected to Wi-Fi to limit your data usage.
4. Video chatting
Video chatting through apps like Zoom, Skype or Facetime also consumes a lot of mobile data. Video chats use more data than voice calls, so if your data limit is limited, consider using voice calls instead of video chats.
5. Updating apps
When you update apps on your phone, it can also add to your data usage. Some app updates are large and use up a lot of data, especially if you have a lot of apps to update. It is therefore important to postpone app updates until you are connected to WiFi to limit your data usage.
6. Online gaming
Playing online games on your smartphone also consumes mobile data. Online games like Fortnite, PUBG, and other multiplayer games can consume a lot of data. If you plan to play games online, check how much data the game uses first and consider only playing when connected to Wi-Fi.
7. Navigation apps
Using navigation apps such as Google Maps or Waze can also add to your data usage. Downloading maps can help limit your data usage, but getting live traffic updates and other real-time information will use data. Try to download offline maps as much as possible or only use these apps when connected to Wi-Fi.
8. Download or upload files
Downloading or uploading files such as photos, videos, documents, and other large files consumes a lot of data. Be sure to check your data limit before downloading or uploading files. If the file is too large and you don’t have enough mobile data, you can download or upload it when connected to Wi-Fi.
Receiving and sending e-mails via a mobile data connection uses relatively little data. But if you attach or download large files via email, data usage can add up quickly. Be sure to check the size of the attachments before downloading or uploading them over your mobile data connection.
10. Using Virtual Personal Networks (VPNs)
Using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your privacy and security can also add to your data usage. A VPN can increase your data usage, especially if you stream or download a lot online. It is therefore important to check your data limit and consider only using your VPN when connected to Wi-Fi.
It is important to note that some apps, such as social media and streaming apps, consume a lot more data than others. That is why it is important to regularly check your data usage and possibly adjust your usage patterns or set a data limit to prevent extra costs.