How much is 1 GB

Smartphone flat rate: How much volume do I really need?

Find the right LTE data volume when choosing a tariff


There is an almost infinite variety of LTE tariffs for smartphones on the German mobile communications market. Differences abound. Contract or prepaid, with all-network flat rate or per minute, with “LTE Max” or “only” 50 Mbit / s, and so on. That probably The most important criterion is and will remain the inclusive volume, also called high-speed or data volume. This decides how long you can be carefree and with maximum LTE performance on the Internet. Measured in numbers, this would be, for example, the amount of images that can be sent via Whatsapp, the possible duration to watch YouTube videos or how long you can surf the Internet unchecked every day.

Because: If the quota is used up within a month, the mobile operators slow down the customer extremely. Internet use becomes almost impossible. Either the customer accepts this or continuously increases it for a fee. It is therefore of fundamental importance (also to save costs) to make a good estimate of your consumption in advance. Our guide will help you!


1 GB is enough for ...

The lion's share of all smartphone tariffs today offer volumes in the range from 1 GB to 20 GB (gigabytes). Only very expensive high-end tariffs offer unlimited volume. For this, however, well over € 60 per month must be budgeted. MagentaMobil XL from Telekom (€ 80), for example, offers completely unlimited LTE! The average customer gets by very well with 3-6 GB. In order to be able to better assess your personal consumption, we have listed the data requirements of some typical Internet applications and services below. Specifically, the question is how long / often can you do this, this and that with 1 GB of data volume?

Quickcheck: 1 GB is enough for ...

  • 10,000 - 20,000 emails (50-100 KB per email)
  • 1,000 hours of listening to the radio or Simfy (128 kbps)
  • 5-20 hours of surfing (approx. 50-200 MB / hour)
  • 20-500 apps load / updates (depending on app size)
  • 340 hours of Skype (approx. 3 MB / min.)
  • 4000 Google searches
  • Open 580 new websites (desktop mode[1])
  • Send 200 photos (5 MB each)
  • ~ 0.5 million Whatsapp messages without picture (approx. 2 KB / message)
  • 60-120 minutes of video streaming in HD
  • 2.5-3 hours of video streaming medium quality
    (e.g. YouTube at 360p or ZDF media library)
  • 3h live TV via Zattoo

All examples presented are of course only exemplary. Depending on the smartphone and quality setting, the data size of a photo can vary between 2 and 15 MB. Experience has shown that the average is around 5 MB. The same applies to MP3 files, by the way.

The volume consumption when surfing is based on data from the service[1]httparchive, according to which an average website in Q1 2020 caused a data consumption of around 2.24 MB (mobile 2.25 MB). In 2018 it was 1.7 and 1.5 MB respectively! However, if you continue to browse the same page, the need tends to decrease, as many repetitive elements and graphics remain in the browser cache. In addition, web pages optimized for mobile use tend to be more economical. Nevertheless, all information is well suited to get a rough idea of ​​the monthly demand that can be expected. Depending on your own usage habits.

1. How much does the average user in Germany use statistically?

Of course, there are also studies to determine how much a mobile phone user consumes or needs statistically today.


The very high growth rates are noticeable. Since 2013, customer data consumption has increased more than tenfold! Incidentally, the LTE share of the study was already 51.5 percent at the end of 2016. More than half of the data traffic in cellular networks is already accounted for by the 4th generation of cellular networks. It should be noted, however, that values ​​were collected on the basis of all SIM cards in Germany. So also all those who are hardly or not at all used, such as forgotten or discarded prepaid cards. And there are quite a number of such "ghost cards" in circulation. If you were to factor out users with extremely low usage intensity, you would probably get twice the consumption per capita.

2. Consequences if the volume is exceeded?

A legitimate question is, of course, what happens if the inclusive volume is all within the billing month? Most of them should already have experience with the consequences. The mobile operators then slow the customer down to a meager 32 or 64 Kbit per second (throttling), which roughly corresponds to the data rate of an old dial-up modem. In short, surfing the web, let alone loading apps or sending pictures, is almost impossible. In a short test during the throttle, e.g. the download of a 3 MB app took three quarters of an hour!

But there are also exceptions and alternatives. With "Stream on", Telekom offers an infinite flat rate, at least for music and video streaming. At Vodafone, the similar offer is called "Pass".




3. Book extra volume and pay attention to automatic data

A number of tariffs, especially in the O2 network, have a so-called automatic data system. As long as the customer does not object, the provider simply books in new volume packages for a fee. That seems practical, is quite expensive in the medium term. The smartphone tariff should therefore offer enough reserves from the outset.

4. How do I find the ideal, cheapest tariff for me?

Regardless of whether you are just looking for a prepaid tariff without a contract or want to surf and make calls around the clock via Allnetflat - the market has the right offer for every need. You just have to find it. Our large mobile phone tariff comparison helps you to find the ideal tariff in the tariff jungle. Simply enter the required key data and off you go!




4. Advice according to type of use: Which internet user (smartphone) are you?

Experience has shown that in practice a few user profiles emerge into which most consumers can be classified. Therefore we have put some of these together briefly. Sure, one or the other will recognize themselves here directly.


The occasional user: This type of cell phone is definitely not one of those who are permanently attached to the smartphone and have to be constantly "up to date". Above all, he wants to be available and, if necessary, check the timetable via app, ask for directions on Google Maps or send a Whatsapp. For the occasional user, a cheap contract rate with 0.5 to 2 GB of data is usually sufficient. In the case of very sporadic use, prepaid is also sufficient.

Social Media Guru: The mostly young and excellently networked user type is at home in the social networks of Facebook, Instagram and Co. It is constantly shared, posted and video clips are of course part of everyday life. In this scenario, you can easily reach a considerable data requirement of well over 3-5 GB per month. So our recommendation would be tariffs with a lot of volume. The social media pass from Vodafone or MagentaMobil would also be a good choice.


Mr Müller": Her Müller doesn't really fit into any scheme. He's interested in everything the web has to offer, but consumes everything in moderation. Then 3-10 GB should be amply dimensioned ...

Multimedia user: The media user is interested in everything that is not available in text form. Music is constantly streamed, YouTube or TV watched and pictures posted. A heavy user who can hardly get by with 10 GB in terms of data requirements. Here really very high tariffs or O2 Free Unlimited are to be preferred as a price tip. Again, it's worth taking a look at Stream On or Vodafone's "Passes" for music or video.

Frequent users: Always online and your battery always at its limit? If you constantly fall into the throttle despite the lush data volume of 10-20 GB, you should perhaps consider a premium tariff with LTE Max (or 5G). Some of these contain up to 120 GB per month. There are even a number of tariffs with which you can surf the LTE network without limits.


5. Check volume consumption

Of course, it would also be interesting if you could identify particularly intensive data slingshots. With Android devices, this is possible with two clicks. Under "Settings" -> "Mobile data". There it is shown in detail for a period X which app has used how much volume. Apple users can find these statistics under "Mobile network" -> "Use mobile data".

Special apps also help to keep an eye on consumption and analyze it if necessary. The author personally likes “My Data Manager” best. This allows Android and iOS customers to monitor the budget equally. You only have to set how much is available per billing period when you start it for the first time. On request, these apps also offer a practical alarm function if a predefinable limit is exceeded, e.g. 1.9 GB. My Data Manager also provides a forecast for the entire month based on current usage habits, which can be extremely useful. The separate count for roaming data connections is also interesting. It is well known that internet use can be really expensive, especially abroad (outside the EU).




6. This saves you valuable data volume on your mobile phone

So that your volume package lasts longer, it is sufficient to know a few tips and tricks, which can sometimes significantly reduce consumption. This does not always have to mean doing without, sometimes only skillful management is necessary.

Tip 1) outsource the data suction device to the WLAN
Many services should be relocated to the home WLAN. The monthly app update marathon alone quickly devours 500-1000 MB. Operating system updates even bring it quickly over the 1 GB limit. When in doubt, you only pay for updates that can be downloaded just as easily at home or in public WLANs. In the standard settings, automatic updates are therefore only enabled for WLAN operation. If you changed this, it would be time to reconsider that decision. Because an app update can sometimes wait a few hours. By the way, Android users can find the option in the Playstore settings. Simply click on the three lines at the top left in the Playstore to open the menu. Then Settings -> Automatic app updates. Here must "only allow via WLAN“(Or similar) can be selected.

Incidentally, the same applies to many other apps, such as Dropbox. For each application you can specify separately whether this is allowed to exchange data with cellular connections or only in WLAN. Of course, this also applies to iOS users.

Tip 2) Prefer offline use

In addition to the updates, a number of services and apps do not necessarily have to be permanently online. If you know how, you can preload a lot via WiFi and still use the apps offline as usual. This saves valuable capacity and also protects against dead spots. Here are a few examples.

Offline example 1: Music services! The most popular streaming providers such as Amazon Musix, Spotyfy or Napster all also offer an offline function. With which you can download playlists in the WLAN and enjoy music on the go without a data connection.

Offline example 2: If you like to use Google Maps a lot, you can also make large areas available offline on the go. This saves a lot of volume, especially with intensive use. To do this, start the app and go to the menu again. There is the point "Offline maps". By clicking on "Download map“Any (not too large) area can be defined that the app caches. Google then wants to update the map at least once a month, which can be done conveniently via WLAN. It works in a similar way with map services from other providers.


Offline example 3: Fortunately, more and more streaming services offer an offline function. For some time now, in addition to Amazon, Netflix has also been there. Unfortunately, this is not yet possible with YouTube.

Tip 3) Avoid data hogs on the go

Of course, it is tempting to be able to watch YouTube videos or mobile TV anywhere and anytime. At the same time, the data counter goes crazy! An hour of HD video adds up to 2-3 GB. Sometimes the entire data volume for the whole month is gone after less than 1 hour. Video streaming should therefore be used very sparingly, unless you have O2 Free or Stream on. By the way: Facebook / Whatsapp can also mutate into real data killers. In the settings, at least videos and photos should be set to "Only with WLAN connections" to be activated. In the extreme case, when acquaintances send you a video, the volume is otherwise quickly used up with just a few clips.

Tip 4) browsers with data compression

Both Google Chrome and the Opera browser can also help save data. Because from the outset, these websites to be loaded, including images, are intelligently recompressed. With 5 minutes that doesn't matter much, but a few hundred MB per month can easily be left over.

Tip 5) Ad blockers

If you do a lot of mobile surfing, it usually helps to switch off annoying advertisements. This works with various blocker apps. Please note, however, that many sites can only offer their services for free because of such advertising. If everyone uses such blockers, at some point any information will only be available on the Internet for a fee, similar to PayTV ...

7. Inquiry: MB and GB - what exactly does that mean?

MB and GB - both figures relate to the amount of data. The size shortens MB megabyte from, GB however Gigabytes. A smaller unit would be kilobyte (KB). The conversion is quite simple. 1024 KB is 1 MB and 1024 MB is 1 GB. Strictly speaking, tariffs with 5 GB high-speed volume offer 5120 MB. Images or music data are often used as a comparison value. Medium resolution images, compressed as JPG, have an average of 5 MB. Incidentally, MP3 files consume roughly the same amount per track. Photos from SLR cameras can easily occupy 30 MB in high quality levels.

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»Guide to the topic of data automation



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