A 3GB data plan will allow you to browse the internet for around 36 hours, to stream 600 songs or to watch 6 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 3GB of data, prices currently start from £6/month in the UK. With your 3GB of data, you'll be able to browse the internet for approximately 36 hours per month, to stream 600 songs online or to watch 6 hours of online video in standard definition.

In this article, we'll discuss what you can do with 3GB of data and how long you can expect your 3GB allowance to last for. We'll also discuss 3GB data plans, where you can find one in the UK and how much you can expect to pay.

How Much Is 3GB Data?

In the UK, a number of mobile networks currently offer 3GB data plans. There's a choice of 5 mobile networks if you're looking for a Pay Monthly SIM card, and a further choice of 3 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 3GB of data from £6.00/month. The following table shows a list of currently available deals:

Plusnet MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£6.00
1 month
1 month
12 months
1 month
Virgin MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£9.00
12 months
12 months
To show you the most relevant plans, 1 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 3GB 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 3GB of data per month:

ASDA MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£7.00
Lebara MobileUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£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.


Instead of choosing a 3GB 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£13.00 £7 more-
500MB Data£6.00£5.00 £2 cheaper
1GB Data£5.00 £1 cheaper£5.00 £2 cheaper
2GB Data£5.00 £1 cheaper£5.00 £2 cheaper
3GB Data£6.00£7.00
4GB Data£6.00£10.00 £3 more
5GB Data£10.00 £4 more£9.99 £3 more
6GB Data£7.00 £1 more£10.00 £3 more
8GB Data£7.00 £1 more£10.00 £3 more
10GB Data£8.00 £2 more£10.00 £3 more
12GB Data£8.00 £2 more£12.00 £5 more
20GB Data£12.00 £6 more£15.00 £8 more
30GB Data£10.00 £4 more£20.00 £13 more
40GB Data£20.00 £14 more£20.00 £13 more
50GB Data£13.00 £7 more£15.00 £8 more
100GB Data£15.00 £9 more£20.00 £13 more
Unlimited Data£16.00 £10 more£20.00 £13 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 3GB 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 3GB of data:

Activity3GB data is equal to...
Accessing web pages1,800 web pages (approx 36 hours browsing)
Basic e-mail/instant message1,050,000 messages
Rich e-mail/IM (with attachments)6,000 messages
Downloading or streaming music600 songs
Downloading or streaming video (SD)6 hours
Downloading or streaming video (HD)1.5 hours
Skype voice call90 hours
Skype video call12 hours
Listening to online radio48 hours
Downloading or updating apps75 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 3GB data allowance should comfortably cover the average UK consumer's monthly data usage.

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 433 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 433 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Michael A Clark said:

    I’m burning up 1gig+ of data per day on my ipad, how is this possible? i purchase load for my tablet and use up only one gig in the eight days it lasts, and I use the tab for the same reasons as the ipad.

    • Hi Christopher,
      Thanks for your comment.
      SD (standard definition) is typically 480p.
      HD (high definition) is typically 720p.
      Full HD is typically 1080p.
      Hope this helps,

      • Do you have a mobile plan? If you go over your mobile plan then you have to pay for extra, and depending on the company the price of extra is much higher than buying a higher data plan.

        110 GB for Netflix and gaming + possibly other stuff is normal.

  • I have been using a Mobile Hotspot since working from home this year. I buy 5GB of data and that has lasted me up to one month. Recently, however, I am only getting 5 working days out of my plan. I have not increased my internet activity at all. I simply check my Oulook email and calendar for my work. Do you know what the issue may be?

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Great question! There are lots of things that might be using data, including automatic software updates on your computer. I’d recommend following the instructions here to see how much data each app on your laptop has used. This will allow you to diagnose the reason for your data allowance disappearing so quickly.
      Hope this helps,

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