Managing data costs

How data is measured - KB, MB and GB explained

The units for measuring the data you download or store on your phone are KB (kilobytes), MB (megabytes, equal to 1000 KB) and GB (gigabytes, equal to 1000 MB). The amount of data you can download each month depends on your mobile phone plan; our plans have data allowances from 500MB up to 3GB per month.

How much data you actually use depends on the type of phone you’re using; how many pictures and videos are on the webpages you’re visiting; and whether you’re sending emails with pictures and attachments.

How your data is charged

Within your allowance

When you use data within your monthly allowance, you won’t be charged any additional costs.

Out of allowance

If you go over your monthly data allowance, take a look at our full list of UK charges and click on your plan to find out more. To keep up with your usage and avoid going over your allowance, you can check your balance in My Account. You can also increase your allowance by changing your plan if you find you’re frequently using data outside your bundle.

How much data do you need?

If you usually use the internet to browse websites and check your email, you'll probably only need between 1-3GB each month. This will give you up to 30 hours online, and enough data to download nearly 100 songs.

Here are some more examples of how much data is used for typical online activities:

  • visiting a website uses less than 1MB of data
  • one hour of instant messaging uses less than 1MB
  • a four minute song uses about 6MB
  • a five minute YouTube video could use up to 15MB
  • watching iPlayer for an hour uses about 700MB
  • downloading one photo uses less than 2MB
  • streaming a high-definition video for one hour uses 1-2GB
Keep data costs down

There are two main ways that you can keep your data costs down: connecting to Wi-Fi or turning off your mobile data.

Connecting to Wi-Fi

Any data you use over Wi-Fi doesn’t get charged as a part of your Talkmobile allowances, so it’s a great way to use your phone to go online, download apps and more. You can use Wi-Fi when you’re out and about via a public Wi-Fi access point, or hotspot. You can find hotspots in many public places, such as libraries, railway stations and cafes.

Have a look at the sections below to learn how to set up Wi-Fi on your make of phone.

Turning off mobile data

Within your phone's settings, you'll be able to turn off mobile data. This means that your phone won't be able to access our network to use data. This means that you won't be able to use any services which use data, for example the Internet and facebook, so you won't get charged for any data usage.

Take a look at the sections below to find out how to turn off data on your phone.

Switching off mobile data

If you’re worrying about going over your data allowance, you can temporarily turn off your mobile data. Please note that when mobile data is switched off, you won’t be able to use any apps that use data, such as email, Facebook or browsing the internet.


To turn off data on your iPhone, you need to disable Cellular Data. From your Home screen, tap Settings. Then tap Cellular. Finally, tap the small green switch-bar next to Cellular Data. For help, visit Apple’s Cellular Data support section.

Android Phones

To turn off mobile data on your Android phone, from the Homescreen, go to Settings. Tap Data Usage. Then switch off Mobile Data.

Windows Phones

To turn off mobile data on your Windows phone, slide your finger left over the Homescreen and tap Settings. Then tap Mobile Network. Tap the box below Data Connection. Then tap On or Off.