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How many megabytes are in a gig? Understanding mobile data

What exactly is a megabyte of mobile data? A gigabyte of mobile data? How many emails is that? How many minutes of YouTube video? How many hours of streaming music from the likes of Spotify or Apple Music?

A voice minute is easily understood. After all, we all know what a minute is. Ditto for a text message. Data is a little more difficult to quantify, especially for those new to the world of mobile.

First, let us drop some numbers on you. These numbers come directly from an about.com article on mobile data and are compiled from various carrier estimates of the average smartphone data usage of specific smartphone activities.How many megabytes are in a gig

How many megabytes are in a gig

How many kilobytes are in a megabyte? How many megabytes are in a gigabyte? For ease of calculation, we’ll say there are 1000 kilobytes (KB) in a megabyte (MB) and 1000 MB in a gigabyte (GB), often referred to as a gig of data.

These figures are based on using mobile data on your smartphone and don’t take tethering into account. Mobile versions of websites are designed to be less data heavy than their non-mobile counterparts.

Keep in mind that if you’re using Ting, exceeding your current usage level will bump you up to the next level and you’ll pay that amount without any penalties or overage fees.

Small – 100 MB

If we say the average email (including attachments) is 350 KB a piece, we can send and receive over 285 emails and still stay within the 100 MB Small bucket. Or, we can visit about 556 web pages in a given month, assuming an average of 250 KB per site. We can stream around 100 minutes of music or upload 50 high-quality photos.

Realistically, if you’re in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot at home or in the office most of the time and you use mobile data when you’re on the road, it’s not difficult to stay within the 100 MB Small bucket.

Of course, you can always set a usage alert in the Ting dashboard to let you know when you’re nearing the top of your chosen bucket.

Medium – 500 MB

Most Ting customers use the Medium bucket for data. Here, you can use mobile data without much worry; sending and receiving emails, settling bar bets with a quick visit to Wikipedia, sharing social media updates with abandon and downloading the odd application while mobile. By the numbers, 500 MB of mobile data allows for:

  • >1,425 emails (with attachments) sent or received or
  • >2,780 web pages or
  • 500 minutes of streaming music or
  • 250 photos uploaded or downloaded or
  • 30 minutes of HD video streaming or
  • 125 app downloads

For a family of four, each member with his or her own smartphone, using Wi-Fi for heavy-load tasks like streaming video and downloading apps, it’s not difficult to stay within the 500 MB Medium bucket. With Ting alerts in the account control panel, you can set a limit for each device on your account and can even turn off mobile data until the next month if someone blows through their megabyte allowance (that’ll teach ’em!)

Large – 1000 MB (1 gigabyte or GB)

The Large bucket offers 1 gigabyte and means not really having to worry about mobile data. With four devices under a plan, each can use 250 MB. That means 713 emails a piece, 250 minutes of streaming music each or more than 1390 web pages.
In raw numbers, 1000 MB of data allows for:

  • >2,850 text-only emails sent or received or
  • >5,560 web pages or
  • 1,000 minutes of streaming music or
  • 500 photos uploaded or downloaded or
  • 1 hour of HD video streaming or
  • 250 app downloads

Again, setting alerts and limits for individual devices or the account as a whole in the Ting dashboard will ensure you don’t exceed your chosen bucket.

How many megabytes are in a gigXL – 2,100 MB

You’d have to work pretty hard to hit the XL level with a single device. If you’re coming to Ting from an “unlimited” plan from one of the major carriers, taking very simple steps such as connecting to Wi-Fi wherever possible rather than using mobile data will keep you out of these buckets and down in the Small/Medium range instead.

Beyond XL

If you exceed the XL bucket (2,100 MB or 2.1 GB of mobile data), each gigabyte is just $10 a GB.


Cutting back on data

Knowing what a megabyte of data is and how many megabytes are in a gig may help you estimate how much you will pay each month for data. By using Wi-Fi and figuring out which apps are using the most data, you’re bound to do more with your smartphone without paying more.

Using more mobile data than you’d like to? We can help. Get the free Cut your data eBook from Ting.

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