A 500MB data plan will allow you to browse the internet for around 6 hours, to stream 100 songs or to watch 1 hour 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 500MB of data, prices currently start from £5/month in the UK. With your 500MB of data, you'll be able to browse the internet for approximately 6 hours per month, to stream 100 songs online or to watch 1 hour of online video in standard definition.
In this article, we'll discuss what you can do with 500MB of data and how long you can expect your 500MB allowance to last for. We'll also discuss 500MB data plans, where you can find one in the UK and how much you can expect to pay.
How Much Is 500MB Data?
In the UK, a number of mobile networks currently offer 500MB 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 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 500MB of data from £5.00/month. The following table shows a list of currently available deals:
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 500MB of data from £5.00/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 500MB of data per month:
Instead of choosing a 500MB 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 Data||Pay Monthly||Pay As You Go|
|250MB Data||£4.00 £1 cheaper||£5.00|
|1GB Data||£5.00||£7.50 £2.5 more|
|2GB Data||£7.00 £2 more||£7.00 £2 more|
|3GB Data||£8.00 £3 more||£10.00 £5 more|
|4GB Data||£10.00 £5 more||£10.00 £5 more|
|8GB Data||£9.00 £4 more||£10.00 £5 more|
|12GB Data||£13.00 £8 more||£20.00 £15 more|
|20GB Data||£15.00 £10 more||£15.00 £10 more|
|40GB Data||£20.00 £15 more||£20.00 £15 more|
|100GB Data||£18.00 £13 more||-|
|Unlimited Data||£18.75 £14 more||£25.00 £20 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 500MB 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 500MB of data:
|Activity||500MB data is equal to...|
|Accessing web pages||300 web pages (approx 6 hours browsing)|
|Basic e-mail/instant message||175,000 messages|
|Rich e-mail/IM (with attachments)||1,000 messages|
|Downloading or streaming music||100 songs|
|Downloading or streaming video (SD)||1 hour|
|Downloading or streaming video (HD)||15 minutes|
|Skype voice call||15 hours|
|Skype video call||2 hours|
|Listening to online radio||8 hours|
|Downloading or updating apps||13 apps|
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 500MB 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.
Our full guide to mobile download limits has more information including on how to find out how much data you need.