A 2GB data plan will allow you to browse the internet for around 24 hours, to stream 400 songs or to watch 4 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 2GB of data, prices currently start from £6/month in the UK. With your 2GB of data, you'll be able to browse the internet for approximately 24 hours per month, to stream 400 songs online or to watch 4 hours of online video in standard definition.

In this article, we'll discuss what you can do with 2GB of data and how long you can expect your 2GB allowance to last for. We'll also discuss 2GB data plans, where you can find one in the UK and how much you can expect to pay.

How Much Is 2GB Data?

In the UK, a number of mobile networks currently offer 2GB data plans. There's a choice of 12 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 2GB of data from £6.00/month. The following table shows a list of currently available deals:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.00
12 months
TalkmobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.00
1 month
iD Mobile1,000Unlimited2GB£6.00
24 months
Three200Unlimited2GB£6.00
12 months
Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.50
1 month
SmartyUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£7.00
1 month
Lebara Mobile500Unlimited2GB£7.00
1 month
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited2GB£7.00
1 month
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£7.50
12 months
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£8.00
1 month
Virgin Mobile1,500Unlimited2GB£9.00
12 months
O21,000Unlimited2GB£9.00
18 months

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 2GB of data from £7.00/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 2GB of data per month:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile300Unlimited2GB£7.00
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£8.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£10.00
Virgin Mobile5005002GB£10.00
EE100Unlimited2GB£10.00
EE1,000Unlimited2GB£15.00
Co-operative Mobile7501,0002GB£15.00
To show you the most relevant plans, 2 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .
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 2GB 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£4.00 £2 cheaper£5.00 £2 cheaper
500MB Data£5.00 £1 cheaper£5.00 £2 cheaper
1GB Data£5.00 £1 cheaper£7.50 £0.5 more
2GB Data£6.00£7.00
3GB Data£6.00£10.00 £3 more
4GB Data£8.00 £2 more£10.00 £3 more
6GB Data£9.00 £3 more£10.00 £3 more
8GB Data£8.00 £2 more£10.00 £3 more
12GB Data£10.00 £4 more£20.00 £13 more
20GB Data£14.00 £8 more£15.00 £8 more
40GB Data£20.00 £14 more£20.00 £13 more
100GB Data£18.00 £12 more-
Unlimited Data£18.00 £12 more£25.00 £18 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 2GB 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 2GB of data:

Activity2GB data is equal to...
Accessing web pages1,200 web pages (approx 24 hours browsing)
Basic e-mail/instant message700,000 messages
Rich e-mail/IM (with attachments)4,000 messages
Downloading or streaming music400 songs
Downloading or streaming video (SD)4 hours
Downloading or streaming video (HD)1 hour
Skype voice call60 hours
Skype video call8 hours
Listening to online radio32 hours
Downloading or updating apps50 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 2GB 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 408 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 408 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I have only read a few sentences here but have written down kenstechtips.com so I can read your advice…I was at my wit’s end,as I usually am for the last few years…I do trust my monthly contract with 02 but as I have not upgraded last time with my phone and old iPad Air…and REFUSE TO HAVE WIFI CONNECTION FOR YEARS NOW…I am struggling to understand how to update my old fashioned mobile and iPad…I have no time to go see a guru at my local O2,who have always sorted out their best deal for my needs BUT I always come home and think …I am not stupid,just need a simple explanation,I read lots via Google but never quite get my answers…I now am relying on your website to provide the advice I need but will not be complaining if I get no result…I am content just understanding the few words I read here….no need for anyone who reads this to reply,thank you for reading my comments…Best Regards,Deborah

    • Hi Deborah,
      Thanks for taking the time to write and to leave me a comment. I’m pleased that the website has been useful – do let me know if there’s anything else I can help out with explaining!
      Ken

  • Hi, I have just moved to a temporary apartment (without broadband) and have been using my phone as wifi hotspot to use my 13″ laptop to browse the net and stream tv.

    This has used up my data allowance very fast. Does using the phone as wifi hotspot use much more data up (than using on the phone)?

    What is my best plan for continuing to use my phone as a wifi hotspot tether? How much data would I need for intensively browsing the net (say 10 hours a day sometimes) and, say, streaming 2 hours of TV per night, and 3 hours podcasts?

    Is there some way around the slow speed I am getting through tethering – and the constant buffering? A boost/trick of some kind? Should it be happening?

    I am with O2 on a rolling month by month sim only contract. Their bolt-ons seem expensive – £30 for 12GB and I’ve no idea if that’s enough! Do I need unlimited GB bolt-on? Can I get that? I can’t find online, but they offer it on some contracts and I have found in the past you can custom plans if you know what to ask for, and how to ask for it!

    I have an iphone and macbook pro. My current O2 contract that I want to stick with, but adjust for more data, is around £25 a month.

    Huge thanks.

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, using your mobile phone as a hotspot is likely to consume data very quickly if you’re using it for activities like streaming 2 hours of TV and browsing the internet for 10 hours per day!
      How long do you expect to be staying in the temporary apartment? If it’s likely going to be more than one or two months, I’d recommend a 4G or 5G home broadband service (or buying your own router and setting one up to that effect). That will give you far better performance than tethering from a smartphone (hopefully, including better speeds and stronger wi-fi coverage).
      With regards to SIM-only deals, I’d suggest getting an unlimited data SIM card. You can currently get an unlimited data SIM card from as little as £18/month (or £20/month on a one-month rolling basis with SMARTY who use coverage from Three).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken.
    Thanks so much for the info.
    Do these same figures apply when you tether your laptop from your phone?
    I’m about to get a 100gb 12 month contract, as I’m going to be living in my van for a while.
    I’ll be doing design work from my laptop in the day, uploading large files and emailing clients, then probably watching Netflix in the evening for an hour or so.
    Is more GB used when tethering? Should I go for unlimited data?
    Thank you!

    • Hi M,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the same figures apply when you’re tethering from a laptop. However, it’s possible that some additional data is consumed e.g. because your videos stream in higher-quality due to the larger screen size. Software updates on your laptop could also cause some additional usage.
      With regards to choosing between 100GB and unlimited data, it’s really difficult to say! Certainly, if the price difference is fairly small, it’s worth going for unlimited data to give you the total piece of mind & so you never need to worry about it again. Currently, you can get unlimited data for £18/month – I’m not sure how this compares to the cost of your 100GB deal.
      Ken

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