How Much Data Stuff Uses (video, web pages, chat, song)


Most people send emails, visit websites, watch videos or simply chat with friends online, without any idea about how much data stuff uses. The wireless service providers are increasingly shying away from plans which allow unlimited data usage. With limited plans, it is essential for us to know how much data stuff uses.

Knowledge about data- heavy mobile activities gives you a measure of control over your bills. Let us take a look at how much data stuff uses.

How Much Data Video Uses

The most data-heavy activity is watching a video. There are differences in how much data video uses according to the quality you watch it in. For example:

  • A videoconference with video compression running at around 128- 384 kbps, would result in around 2mb being used every minute.
  • Streaming a high quality video (720p) should use up 7.5 MB per minute.
  • A music video on You Tube lasting 4 minutes would result in a data usage of approximately 11MB.
  • Watching an episode of a TV program online for 30 minutes will take up 90MB. The amount of data used varies on the content and the video’s quality

How Much Data Song Uses

Listening to songs also uses up a lot of data, but less than a video. Once again, the format of the song matters. For streaming mp3 songs, the following rates would apply:

  • 128 kbps quality song- the most common – would cost you around 1mb of data for every minute of the song
  • 192 kbps – a very uncommon but high quality audio – uses 1.4 MB per minute of the song.

How Much Data Webpage Uses

How much data webpage uses varies widely on its content.

  • Visiting a webpage with mostly text content should use up just 0.1MB of data.
  • A visit to webpages with lots of images, such as Ebay or Amazon, would be using up approximately 0.2MB per page.
  • Spending 15 minutes on social-networking sites like Facebook could result in 5MB of data usage.
  • News websites contain a mix of images and text, and on average a single page of BBC uses up 0.13MB.
  • Image rich sites displaying high quality images like Photobucket can even cost 0.4MB per page view.

How Much Data Chat Uses Up

Chat uses up the least amount of data, as it consists of sending mostly just text. So spending 30 minutes chatting non-stop with someone online, say on Skype, would use up just 0.1MB of data. But how much data chat uses up depends on fast you type out messages and how many messages you send each other.

How Much Data Email Uses Up

When we look at how much data stuff uses, let us not leave out emails. The data usage per email is very little; but if you are sending a lot of mails, especially with attachments, the data adds up.

  • 10 emails use up just 100 KB without attachments.
  • 10 emails with attachments of photo or doc files will be 18MB

It may not be possible to keep track of every bit of data usage. But a general idea about how much data stuff uses will help us optimize our usage and keep our bills under control.

Do you find that you go through a lot of data in a month? What are the main culprits? (ie music, movies, surfing)

Written on behalf of Openet, leaders in policy and charging rules function.

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