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Is 196 megabytes per month enough mobile data for you?

Sterling Keys (translation)
14

Data flat rates are essential for the vast majority of smartphone users. Being online the majority of the time with your cell phone, I figured that eating up 200 megabytes of data in a month would be easy to do. However, a recent German study by the Association of Telecommunications and Value-Added Services (VATM) published a report in their blog, which claims that the average data consumption in Germany is around 196 megabytes per month. Can this be true?

Datenverbrauch 2
 © AndroidPIT

While we call less and less, we are online more with our smartphones, using services such as Messenger to communicate, watching online videos, playing games, listening to music, reading news, and keeping in touch via Twitter and Facebook. In essence, we use less of our talk minutes and gobble up more and more data, or so it seems. It appears that all this would not be possible without flexible data plans, at least not without spending a lot of money. I guess the nagging question for smartphone enthusiasts is as follows: “Will I be able to get by in one month with just 1 gigabyte of data?”

And so, I was surprised by the message about the upcoming new tariff “O2 Loop Smart” that was published on the Telefonica blog. In it this report, it says that the average data consumption in Germany is 196 megabytes. "Come on!” I thought. Shouldn’t this be much higher, considering the way trends are going with smartphones? It seems too impossible to believe. Here at the AndroidPIT office, our consumption is definitely higher than this national “average”: Sophia constantly complains that her 1 Gigabyte limit is always throttled, Nico and Andreas classify themselves as power users and are regularly at the limit of their plans,  and Toni and I constantly come in around 500 megabytes per month.

Until recently, I even got by with 300 megabytes per month and I was only able to achieve this by being very cautious with reducing the amount of apps I had synchronizing in the background. I also never used data heavy apps while on the road, such as video streaming, Youtube and the likes.  And sometimes I was still taken by surprise: once just using Google+ while out and about caused me to rack up 250 megabytes in data.

However, when you step back to think about it, this average might not be so unrealistic: only about half of smartphone users, according to Telefónica online, are always online. Only a third of users employ their smartphones when on the go, meaning outside of Wi-Fi reception.

The numbers showcased in this report are from last year, and one would expect that data consumption would continue to increase as an average. The whole song and dance behind this new tariff just reeks of a bait and catch tactic. By having customers bound to cheap contracts, how many of them will reach their limit within a week and then have their data connection throttled for the remainder of the month?

What do you think about this? How much is your monthly data usage? And what do you do if you have reached your data limit?

Comments

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  • pgb 11 months ago Link

    In China, using China Unicom 300Mb per month plan for a year now. I've exceeded limit twice, which incurs flat rate charge, but not ruinous. My usage is modest but always on when out and about, and I do find tendency over time is towards greater use of data. Charges are modest though, so thinking of a minor upgrade to 500Mb.

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  • Gio A. 11 months ago Link

    I have a 1 gb data plan but beacause of a special offer that was going on when I got my phone I got 10gb free for the remainder of my contract with vodafone here in the Netherlands. I usualy barely use 500 gb even when really trying to spend up my data. I only passed 1 gb ones till now but that was because I used my phone as a wifi hotpsot in my car so that my son could watch videos on his tablet on th road. before this I used to get by on just 250 mb a month.

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  • Gio A. 11 months ago Link

    I mend 500 mb above sry. no way to edit on app

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  • Mark R. 11 months ago Link

    @pgb I'm same as you on a 300MB plan in China. I usually use about 250MB but never use cloud services over 3G.

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  • James Robinson 11 months ago Link

    I still have unlimited data from Verizon and that will not change, i use around 15-20gb a month so no 200mb would be nowhere near enough for me.

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  • Chris R. 11 months ago Link

    I am new to Android phones and would definitely not consider myself a power user, but I easily managed to use 500MB in my first month on the new phone. That is about half of what my 1 GB plan is good for. On the other hand, my wife uses a Nokia 610 and she has yet to reach the limit of her 200Mb plan. Goes to show.

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  • Justin Haske 11 months ago Link

    I used to have unlimited data on AT&T but dropped them because of being throttled at 3gb. I used to use 15gb a month without tethering. I went to Verizon for better 4g coverage and have 3 lines with 3gb a line and I use about 5gb of them each month now and that's using wifi as much as possible.

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  • Arturo Torres 10 months ago Link

    196 MB a month, i don't believe, i use normally between 12-15 GB of data a month and in March 2013 i use more than 20GB. This is not a joke

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  • Sterling Keys 10 months ago Link

    Personally, I have 1 GB a month and skirt near the edge of my limit every single month. This is after being conscious of usage and trying to limit out of the amount of data I'm using when I'm outside of wifi. 196 megabytes a month would be ridiculous to try and limit myself to.

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  • David DeMello 10 months ago Link

    I go thru 5 gigs a month easily and sometimes get overage charges for going over that.

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  • Tommycoumbayer 10 months ago Link

    196 mb just for 2 days for me. sometimes less, for month with 196 what can I do, it's just enough for opening email....

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  • alb son 10 months ago Link

    enjoying 12gb data plan & have 3G watchdog to warn me of over usage, which happen a few times before

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  • Henry Low 10 months ago Link

    my iphone says I have used 5.5GB since 2011...yeah abt 200MB a month

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