A 1GB data plan will allow you to browse the internet for around 12 hours, to stream 200 songs or to watch 2 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 1GB of data, prices currently start from £5/month in the UK. With your 1GB of data, you'll be able to browse the internet for approximately 12 hours per month, to stream 200 songs online or to watch 2 hours of online video in standard definition.

In this article, we'll discuss what you can do with 1GB of data and how long you can expect your 1GB allowance to last for. We'll also discuss 1GB data plans, where you can find one in the UK and how much you can expect to pay.

How Much Is 1GB Data?

In the UK, a number of mobile networks currently offer 1GB data plans. There's a choice of 10 mobile networks if you're looking for a Pay Monthly SIM card, and a further choice of 5 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 1GB of data from £5.00/month. The following table shows a list of currently available deals:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
iD Mobile500Unlimited1GB£5.00
1 month
Lebara Mobile500Unlimited1GB£5.00
1 month
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£6.00
1 month
SmartyUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£6.25
1 month
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£7.00
12 months
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited1GB£7.00
12 months
Tesco Mobile5005,0001GB£7.50
12 months
Tesco Mobile5005,0001GB£10.00
1 month
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£11.00
12 months
O21,000Unlimited1GB£11.00
12 months
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£13.00
1 month
BT MobileUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£14.00
12 months
EEUnlimitedUnlimited1GB£16.00
12 months
To show you the most relevant price plans, 3 similar 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 1GB of data from £7.50/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 1GB of data per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Co-operative Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile5001,0001GB£10.00
iD Mobile500Unlimited1GB£10.00
EE250Unlimited1GB£10.00
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.

Alternatives

Instead of choosing a 1GB 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£7.50 £2.5 more£5.00 £2.5 cheaper
500MB Data£5.00£5.00 £2.5 cheaper
1GB Data£5.00£7.50
2GB Data£6.00 £1 more£7.00 £0.5 cheaper
3GB Data£8.00 £3 more£10.00 £2.5 more
4GB Data£10.00 £5 more£10.00 £2.5 more
8GB Data£10.00 £5 more£15.00 £7.5 more
12GB Data£13.00 £8 more£20.00 £12.5 more
20GB Data£18.00 £13 more£20.00 £12.5 more
40GB Data£20.00 £15 more£20.00 £12.5 more
100GB Data£20.00 £15 more-
Unlimited Data£22.00 £17 more£25.00 £17.5 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 1GB 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 1GB of data:

Activity1GB data is equal to...
Accessing web pages600 web pages (approx 12 hours browsing)
Basic e-mail/instant message350,000 messages
Rich e-mail/IM (with attachments)2,000 messages
Downloading or streaming music200 songs
Downloading or streaming video (SD)2 hours
Downloading or streaming video (HD)30 minutes
Skype voice call30 hours
Skype video call4 hours
Listening to online radio16 hours
Downloading or updating apps25 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 makes a 1GB data allowance is a little smaller than average. However, if you find yourself mainly using a wi-fi connection when at home or at work, it's possible you won't need as much data as the average consumer.

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 374 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 374 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

    • Hi Mike,
      You’re right – some mobile networks will actually give you 1024MB rather than 1000MB when you buy a 1GB data plan. This is actually a good thing for consumers in that you’ll get 2.4% more data at no extra charge. Despite the fact that 1GB is precisely defined as 1000MB, many people still think of it as 1024MB. For this reason, many networks err on the side of caution and give customers a data allowance based on the higher amount.
      Ken

  • It is really good that someone has taken the time to explain the complex world of data, can be so confusing

  • Wasn’t sure how mobile data worked and now reading has explained so much about how I will use my data and when using wifi and what apps may use more data than others. Much more informed now on what data plan to use in the future. This is an excellent way to inform people of data use thaml you for sharing

Load more comments (370)

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will never be published. By default, I'll use it to send you an update when there are replies to your comment. However, if you don't want to receive this, you can disable it using the dropdown menu below: