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Don't get caught in an internet emergency! We know it can be stressful when you're stuck without Wi-Fi, but luckily mobile data is here to save the day.

At MoneySavingPro we want to ensure that your phone usage keeps up with whatever life throws at you - and our guide will walk you through how to make sure of it.

Let's uncover new ways together on using less mobile data and if unlimited plans really are worth investing in.

How does mobile data work?

Don't just rely on Wi-Fi anymore - with a mobile data plan, you can stay connected anywhere with your mobile devices.

Your cellular service provider will give you an allowance of data unless you pick one of their unlimited plans.

Choosing a suitable option means that you can take advantage of all sorts of applications and services. Apps ranging from GPS navigation services to streaming music await when using your trusty phone.

You'll also find offline downloads and cloud storage solutions, as well as many other services such as;

  • Browsing websites
  • Send and receive email
  • Google Maps
  • Gaming apps or online games
  • Streaming music and videos
  • Video calls like FaceTime and Zoom
  • Using social media apps

If you're looking for a cost-effective cell phone plan, understanding your mobile data usage is key.

Knowing how much data to get can make all the difference between getting good value or wasting money. With a low-cost mobile network provider, like US Mobile, that operates on the main networks; Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are popular as they can save you hundreds of bucks on your cell phone bill.

Don't forget that unlimited often comes with strings attached - be sure to read up on their terms & conditions before signing anything.

Do I need cell phone data if I have WiFi?

Your mobile data connection can be helpful when you're out and about, but if you're connected to Wi-Fi most of the day then it could save you money to opt for a set data plan.

Set data plans can provide that peace of mind that you are able to access a wireless cellular connection if you need to.

It pays to find the right balance between convenience and cost.

What mobile data speed is best?

The two main speeds available are 4G LTE which reaches 35-60Mbps, and 5G which offers speeds of 100Mbps or more.

With MVNOs (or Mobile Virtual Network Operators) you'll find some high-speed plans available, but make sure to check the small print as each carrier is different, and some may have to reduce their speeds during busy periods.

To help you decide on what speed you'll need, for example, streaming HD on platforms such as Netflix requires 5Mbps, UHD requires 25Mbps, and online gaming requires a similar bandwidth.

5G vs 4G LTE

5G technology is revolutionizing the internet speeds we have come to know and expect.

With subscribers experiencing four times faster download speeds than those of 4G LTE, accessing the information on the go or streaming videos at home just got even easier.

Plus, with its rollout across America still underway - broadband options in rural areas can now be improved with access to high-speed 5G Home Internet connections.

How much data do I need?

With the widespread access to a wireless router, at home, offices, and shops, on average most people only use around 3-5GB of data a month.

You can easily get an estimate for your monthly mobile data usage with our calculator.

Unlimited mobile data never really means unlimited, but you'll pay more for an unlimited data plan. When you check the small print your speeds will often be reduced once you hit a set limit.

Opting for a set data plan that's within your monthly usage can save you hundreds of dollars on your cell phone bill.

Is unlimited data worth it?

Estimating your usage each month is the key to finding out how much data you actually need.

Take note of exactly what kind of activities, such as streaming and messaging, put more strain on your allotted amount so if you really want an unlimited plan make sure to double-check all the details in the terms and conditions.

How to save mobile data

Whether you have unlimited data or a set mobile data allowance with your plan there are a few things you can do to help conserve data.

  • Connect to Wi-Fi when it's available
  • Check your mobile data usage throughout the month
  • Download music, movies, games, and apps when you're connected to Wi-Fi
  • Watch tv shows, and movies, and listen to music you've downloaded when away from Wi-Fi
  • Close apps to save data usage when you've finished with them
  • Pop your phone on airplane mode so it's not connected to the cellular network

Turn off mobile data

If you're worried about going over your mobile data limit or traveling and don't want your mobile data on. You can turn off your mobile data in your phone settings.

  • iPhone mobile data: Go to your Settings app and click Cellular. Then turn off Cellular Data.
  • Android mobile data: Open Settings go to Network and Internet, then Mobile Data > Data Usage, and click to turn mobile data off.


Mobile data allows you to access the internet, stream, and play games when you're not connected to Wi-Fi.

Estimating your monthly data usage can help you save hundreds of dollars on your phone plan. As unlimited data isn't always unlimited, choosing a plan with a data allowance can give you more bang for your buck.

If you travel a lot you can find out more about data roaming, but having mobile data can help you keep in touch with emails and video calls and can be an important part of your cell phone plan.

Data usage FAQs

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