A 12GB data plan will allow you to browse the internet for around 144 hours, to stream 2,400 songs or to watch 24 hours of standard-definition video.

Nowadays, the key difference between mobile phone price plans is how many gigabytes of data it comes with.

If you're looking for a mobile phone plan with 12GB of data, prices currently start from £9/month in the UK. With your 12GB of data, you'll be able to browse the internet for approximately 144 hours per month, to stream 2,400 songs online or to watch 24 hours of online video in standard definition.

In this article, we'll discuss what you can do with 12GB of data and how long you can expect your 12GB allowance to last for. We'll also discuss 12GB data plans, where you can find one in the UK and how much you can expect to pay.

How Much Is 12GB Data?

In the UK, a number of mobile networks currently offer 12GB data plans. There's a choice of 3 mobile networks if you're looking for a Pay Monthly SIM card, and a further choice of 2 networks if you're looking for a more flexible Pay As You Go bundle.

Pay Monthly SIM Cards

If you're looking for the lowest possible prices, you can get a Pay Monthly SIM card with 12GB of data from £9.00/month. The following table shows a list of currently available deals:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
(may rise during contract)
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£9.00
24 months
Tesco MobileUnlimitedUnlimited12GB£11.00
12 months
24 months
12 months
£13.60 for 12 months
24 months
24 months
12 months
12 months
1 month
£17.60 for 12 months
24 months
12 months
To show you the most relevant plans, 8 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

Contract lengths will vary when taking a Pay Monthly contract. You'll normally need to undergo a credit check when taking out a Pay Monthly contract.

Pay As You Go SIM Cards

If you're looking for a bit of extra flexibility, a Pay As You Go bundle allows you to have this with 12GB of data from £10.00/month. There's no commitment to renewing your bundle every month. You can also increase or decrease your data allowance at the end of each month if you find you're on a plan with the wrong amount of data.

The following table shows Pay As You Go bundles with 12GB of data per month:

There's no need to undergo a credit check when taking a Pay As You Go bundle. It's normally possible to order a free Pay As You Go SIM card: you'll then simply need to top it up with credit to get started.


Instead of choosing a 12GB data plan, it may sometimes make sense to choose a plan with more data. This is especially the case when special offers and promotion are available: you might be able to get a larger allowance of data for the same or for a very similar price:

Amount of DataPay MonthlyPay As You Go
250MB Data--
500MB Data--
1GB Data£2.90 £6 cheaper£5.00 £5 cheaper
2GB Data£6.00 £3 cheaper£6.00 £4 cheaper
3GB Data£5.00 £4 cheaper£5.00 £5 cheaper
4GB Data£5.00 £4 cheaper£7.50 £2.5 cheaper
5GB Data£4.50 £4.5 cheaper£5.00 £5 cheaper
6GB Data£5.95 £3 cheaper£9.90 £0 cheaper
8GB Data£6.00 £3 cheaper£10.00
10GB Data£8.00 £1 cheaper£8.00 £2 cheaper
12GB Data£9.00£10.00
20GB Data£7.00 £2 cheaper£10.00
30GB Data£7.00 £2 cheaper£12.00 £2 more
40GB Data£8.00 £1 cheaper£15.00 £5 more
50GB Data£8.00 £1 cheaper£15.00 £5 more
100GB Data£12.00 £3 more£19.88 £10 more
Unlimited Data£15.00 £6 more£20.00 £10 more

Some price plans include a data rollover feature giving you a second opportunity to use your data allowance. Alternatively, an unlimited data plan could also be worth thinking about if you'd like a worry-free plan where you never need to think about how much data you're using.

How Long Does 12GB Of Data Last?

When figuring out how much data you need, it's important to think about your own individual usage requirements.

If you choose a plan with too much data, you could be overpaying for lots of data that you don't actually use. On the other hand, choosing a plan with too little data could mean being cut-off from the internet in the middle of the month.

The following table gives you an approximate guide to what you can do with 12GB of data:

Activity12GB data is equal to...
Accessing web pages7,200 web pages (approx 144 hours browsing)
Basic e-mail/instant message4,200,000 messages
Rich e-mail/IM (with attachments)24,000 messages
Downloading or streaming music2,400 songs
Downloading or streaming video (SD)24 hours
Downloading or streaming video (HD)6 hours
Skype voice call360 hours
Skype video call48 hours
Listening to online radio192 hours
Downloading or updating apps300 apps

We've made a number of assumptions in coming to these numbers. You can read about these in more detail here.

As of 2019, the average UK consumer uses around 3GB of mobile data each month. This has been growing rapidly in the past few years (e.g. it was only 1.9GB in 2017 and 0.2GB in 2012). This means a 12GB data allowance is much more than the average consumer can use. It's worth double-checking to make sure you actually need all of this data, as you could otherwise end up paying for lots of data that you don't actually use.

For more information, see our guide on how to find out your current data usage.

More Information

Our full guide to mobile download limits has more information including on how to find out how much data you need.

Once you've decided how much data you need, we've summarised the best Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go SIM cards across a variety of price points in the UK.

Your Comments 449 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 449 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I enjoy the no worry of unlimited. I can easily read articles like this and get lost following all the branch off topics and then have no time left.
    I would really be in a pinch if I used up all my data without concern, reading about duck wing feather mites in birds of the pine forested area of Kanuckistan or somewhere, and have no time left to read a bus schedule the next day.
    The extra cost is worth it to me. Hell, I used 2gb just trying to read the comparison chart for 2gb.

  • I just bought Pay As You Go card (it said £15 25GB on it, but I paid £1 for the card).

    I then bought £10 top-up for it and put it on…… I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered to go downstairs to see what the internet code was and so went on to mobile data.

    17 minutes later my £10 was used up.

    This was my first experience with my new Smart Phone. I will be going back to my Samsung Flip phone which DOES only cost me £10 per month for unlimited calls and texts. I do NOT need internet and photos and all this malarkey – I was getting on just fine (Amazon is useful but if I remember to check when they will arrive I do not really need them).

    This is daylight robbery by 3 (and no doubt other companies are similar). I am utterly shocked!

    I don’t know what I did wrong, but I expect other people will have as well – what if I had been lost in a forest – 17 mins for £10 wouldn’t have been very long to get unlost and I may have been eaten by a wolf…….

    Back to my happy-clappy phone!


    • Another point from me – Angela – I only went on to Google and TESCO website to see if I could log on to the internet – don’t recall anything else, and I updated some settings on my new phone….. I didn’t upload or download anything or add any Word or Excel docs; I looked up the word ‘squirrel’ and I don’t think much else….

      I am off to the 3G phone shop tomorrow, but for me – this was a bit like a horror movie!!

      I am off to use my laptop now – modern technology I understand!

      Angela (again). 🙂

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