Stop wasting money paying for mobile data you don’t need

Two thirds of mobile phone customers use less than 3GB of data each month, despite mobile networks increasingly pushing high data deals.

The UK’s biggest consumer website,, has found¹ almost half of the 12-month Sim-only deals offered by the big four providers give users at least 10GB a month - and some packages offer 100GB or even unlimited data.

Yet a poll of more than 7,200 MSE users has revealed that in reality only 12% of mobile phone users actually use 10GB a month, while 64% use less than 3GB and 35% less than 1GB - suggesting many are paying for far more data than they need.

The poll² also reveals that age has a big impact on data usage with an apparent correlation between age and data consumption. Essentially the older you are, the less data you’re likely to use.

Helen Saxon,'s Chief Product Analyst, says, "Don't be fooled by the marketing of the mobile networks - make sure you only pay for the data you use. Even if opting for a deal with more data costs only £1-£2 extra each month, over the course of a year it soon adds up - and you're paying for something you don't need or use.

"On the other hand, be careful not to underestimate your data usage as excess charges can be costly or leave you without data when you need it. Some providers and handsets also allow you to cap your monthly spend which will prevent any bill shock."


Notes to editors

For more information, see the full news story.

¹ carried out a spot check of the big four mobile networks - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone - on Friday 9 February, looking at all the 12-month Sim-only tariffs listed on the websites as available to new customers.

Of the 27 tariffs it found, almost half (13) were for 10GB or more, and more than two thirds (19) offered 3GB or more.

In addition, two of the sites - Three and O2 - show 'recommended deals' at the top of their list by default, and in both cases the top results shown were for packages offering at least 12GB.

MSE contacted EE, O2, Three and Vodafone for comment and will update this story when a comment is provided.

²In 2018 the proportion of under-25s using less than 3GB of data was 38%, compared to 64% of those aged 35-49 and 91% of over-65s. The pattern was reversed for heavy data use - 25% of under-25s used more than 10GB a month, compared to 11% of those aged 35-49 and just 3% of those aged 65+.

About Martin Lewis: Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is the journalist and consumer campaigner who created and is now the site’s Executive Chair. Martin also founded and chairs the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity.

He’s the UK’s most-googled man, Citizens Advice’s Consumer Champion of the Year, and has spearheaded major financial justice campaigns including bank charges reclaiming (over seven million template letters downloaded), PPI reclaiming (over six million) and a successful large-scale campaign to get financial education in schools. He has his own prime-time ITV programme, The Martin Lewis Money Show, as well as a range of other regular media slots. He was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014.

About is dedicated to cutting consumers’ bills and fighting their corner. The free-to-use consumer finance help resource aims to show people how to save money on anything and everything, and campaigns for financial justice. It was set up in 2003 for just £100, and its free-to-use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website, according to internet ranking site, and the number one ‘Business and Finance – Business Information’ site, according to Hitwise. It has more than 12 million people opted-in to receive the weekly MSE’s Money Tips email, and more than 16 million unique monthly site users who visit more than 28 million times a month. In September 2012, it joined the Group PLC.