How much data is right for you?

The fact that we’re now able to access the internet from the palm of our hand is mind-blowing. But along with that convenience comes new questions, too. Knowing how much data you really need is essential. Start off the year the right way by making sure you choose the cellphone plan and the best phone and app settings for your needs.

When deciding on a data plan, it can be hard to predict how much data you and everyone else on your cellphone plan will actually use each month. Emailing, using apps and social media all use data, but in different ways. Knowing how much data your favorite tasks require can really help you save money. Here’s a handy cellphone data usage chart with some of the more common smartphone functions, so you can get a good idea of what you really need.Data-LegendKeep in mind that surfing the web for only an hour may use just 15MB of data on average, but streaming music for the same period could consume twice that amount! And, sites with lots of videos like YouTube can use up a ton of your monthly plan. That’s why it’s always wise to have a look at your phone and app data settings to see just how much data you’re consuming.

It’s best to always keep your Wi-Fi on and be sure to ask at any places you visit if they have free Wi-Fi available. Then, just save their password into any device you bring there. Also, be sure to install or update apps only when using a Wi-Fi connection as they often consume huge amounts of data.

You can always make adjustments to your cellphone plan within the My Account section of our website. Or, use the My Consumer Cellular app to increase or decrease your plan when you’re on the go. The more you know, the more you can save. We’re all about that!

58 Thoughts on "How much data is right for you?"

  1. Sue Stomski says

    Is there a plan that has unlimited data? Also if I am in a WIFI area does my phone use the WIFI before my data?

    reply to Sue

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Excellent question, Sue. We don’t offer an unlimited data plan, as we find that most of our customers use far less than even our 4GB plan. If you’re using Wi-Fi, your phone will use that first and not use data from your plan. That’s why so many of our customers are able to monitor their use and even change to a lower plan at times. We recommend always keeping your Wi-Fi on, so you’ll be able to save your data for when you’re away from home and you really need it. We’re happy to answer any other questions you may have about using data or Wi-Fi, just give us a call at 888-345-5509! Thank you for posting, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

      • Ian says

        I’m into my second billing period with CC, and I noticed my cellular data use was really high. I turned off cellular data access for all but one of my apps and that made a big difference, but I still notice data activity at 6am and 6pm when I’m at home and using wifi. Is this an artifact of your reporting software

        reply to Ian

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          That’s a common question, Ian, and we’re happy to clear that up. The times that you are seeing (6am and 6pm) don’t necessarily correlate to when you’ve actually used the data. That is just when the cellular tower reports it to our system. That single app that still has data access may be using it when you’re away from home. We’re glad to hear that you’re using Wi-Fi, and it sounds like you’ve found some good ways to manage your data usage. If we can answer any other questions you have, just let us know at 888-345-5509. Thank you for taking the time to comment today, and we’re glad to have you with Consumer Cellular!

          reply to Ashley

      • Rett says

        I would like more data from my Consumer Cellular Service. I don’t have wifi.

        reply to Rett

        • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

          We offer a variety of text and data options, Rett. Our largest plan is 4GB, and that includes unlimited texting. Just remember you can always change your plan, so if you find you need more or less data from one month to the next, you have the ability to change your plan up until the last day of your billing cycle. If we can assist you with selecting a plan that meets your needs, just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we will be happy to help you. Thank you for posting, and we hope you have a great day!

          reply to Ashley

  2. Vicki says

    I have spent all day trying to get in touch with someone to get my old phone activated. This is ridiculous!!! When I ordered my new phone they already activated it when I got it, but I now dislike that phone and want to get back to my original flip phone, help!!!

    reply to Vicki

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re sorry to hear that your new phone wasn’t a good fit, Vicki! I took a look at your account, and I see that Jacqueline was able to help you get this issue resolved and your phone working successfully. If we can assist you with anything else today, please don’t hesitate to call at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting!

      reply to Ashley

  3. Pat says

    What about using Googlemaps for directions? How much data does that consume?

    reply to Pat

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Good question, Pat. When you’re using Google maps for directions, you will use data that is comparable to going online. However, if you know your destination ahead of time, you can download the maps using Wi-Fi, then use them while you’re on the road. That way, you can use barely any data at all! We’re happy to help you at 888-345-5509 if you need some help! Thank you for posting, and we wish you many happy travels!

      reply to Ashley

  4. mARIA says

    I waited about 15 minutes before getting a person on the line. Then she came on and asked what I needed. I said to activate a phone. She said, very friendly like, “I’ll transfer you to someone that can help you. I have been waiting for 25 minutes so far…This is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!!

    reply to mARIA

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re so sorry that you had that experience, Maria. I completely understand your frustration. I was able to take a look at your account, and I see that Jacqueline, your account adviser, was able to help you complete the port and activate your iPhone and Doro on your account. If we can help you with anything else, just let us know at 888-345-5509 and we’ll be happy to take care of it. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and for taking the time to share your experience with us. Thank you for posting, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  5. Steven says

    Regarding the use of 1MB for a webpage view…dumb question maybe but if it takes me clicking say 3 links to get to the information I want (say a traffic map or something for my employer), are each of those 3 page loads each considered a webpage view?

    Second, off topic question…regarding your text plans…are out going as well as incoming texts, deducted from your the total amount selected. In other words a text and reply counts as two?

    Thanks!

    reply to Steven

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Not a problem, Steven! For the webpage views, it refers to an actual page being loaded, but some pages with more photos or videos could require more data. If you were to fully load a page, then click on a link, that would count as a page view. It’s really an estimate, so you could be using less. As for our text plans, each text sent and received is counted, so a text and a reply would indeed count as two messages. If we can help you with anything else, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. Thank you for commenting, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  6. Radicus says

    Hello. I have been a satisfied customer for near 2 years. I do see my data needs changing soon.
    I notice that CC is promoting a supported tablet now. I am wondering if new, cheaper data rates are going to be offered in the near future. I would be sad if I switched to another carrier only to see CC data prices improve shortly after.
    Thanks

    reply to Radicus

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Radicus. While we don’t have any plan changes to announce at this time, we do our best to update our plans periodically to match the needs of our customers. If we should make any changes to our plans, we’ll be sure to alert you on our website, here on our blog and through other customer communications. We’re glad to have you as a customer, and we hope that we can provide you with quality service for years to come!

      reply to Ashley

  7. R says

    Hi. I’m just curious to know if you’re in all target and sears stores and about how many subscribers you have. I’ve been looking into a number of companies and just want to know how easy to access.

    reply to R

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking! You can find our products at Target and Sears stores around the country. To find a store near you, try our Retail Store Locator here. We’ve been in the business of providing simple cellphone service for over 20 years, and we recently celebrated our 2 millionth customer. We’re always happy to talk to you at 888-345-5509 if we can answer any questions, or help you see how much you can save with our service. We appreciate you reaching out to us, and we hope to speak to you soon!

      reply to Ashley

  8. Linda Wyatt says

    If I am using my WIFI at home, are there any data charges as well from CC?

    reply to Linda

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s the great thing about Wi-Fi, Linda! When you’re connected, you won’t be using data from your plan. That way you can save your data for when you’re out and about and really need it. We recommend keeping Wi-Fi turned on at all times so that you don’t even have to think about it. Thank you for asking, and for taking the time to comment today!

      reply to Ashley

  9. Fran Ware says

    I received the E-LTE in Jan. it’s my first smart phone, and I’m having trouble understanding the billing and what constitutes data. I turned off WiFi, and don’t look at mail on the phone, but I’m still getting alerts that I’m about to exceed the minutes on my plan. I don’t do music, You Tube, Google, etc. What is using the data time? I’ve tried to find this explanation on the billing website, but do not see it.

    reply to Fran

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We’re glad you asked, Fran. In general, your phone will use data from your plan when you’re online, streaming music, using certain apps or performing updates. That’s why it is so important to keep Wi-Fi on all the time. That way when you have Wi-Fi available, your phone will connect to it, such as when you’re at home. When your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, you won’t use any data from your plan. I took a look at your account, and it looks like Christina, your account adviser, was able to email you some data tips to try. If you run into any issues or if you would like us to walk you through them, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting today, and we hope you have a wonderful day!

      reply to Ashley

  10. Joe Lalor says

    We live in the Seattle area and visit Vancouver, BC fairly often. Can I use my CC service in the Vancouver area? If so, is there an elevated cost for calling & texting while there?

    reply to Joe

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Good question, Joe. Our service is designed to work within the United States only. While you may have reception in Vancouver, you may be connecting to international towers outside of our control. This could result in costly roaming charges. That’s why we recommend keeping your phone in airplane mode while you visit. You’ll still be able to connect to Wi-Fi, and that will allow you to use Facebook, Google Hangouts and other apps to message friends and family while you’re there. If we can answer any other questions for you about using your phone while traveling, please give us a call at 888-345-5509. We’ll be happy to help you. Thank you for posting today, and we wish you happy travels!

      reply to Ashley

  11. Tony says

    Do simple games (solitaire) use data and is data being used when they try to promote other games? How can you tell when your using data on apps?

    reply to Tony

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Tony. Some games may not require data from your plan in order to work properly. You can always check to see if a game or app is using data by looking at your data settings. I took a look at your account, and I see that you’re using an iPhone. You’ll find your data settings by going to Settings, then Cellular. You’ll now be able to see all the apps that need data. Here, you can even select which apps can use data by sliding the button to the “off” position. That way, you’ll be in control. We’re always happy to answer questions about your phone or about your plan, so give us a call at 888-345-5509 if we can assist you with anything else today. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  12. Ed says

    It would be very helpful if the “talk minutes” were provided in smaller increments than what you have now. For example, you could have a 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000, 3500 where each step costs an additional $3.00. The jump from 1500 minutes to 3500 minutes for $10.00 is a little much for those that use >1500 but <2000 or < 2500 minutes.

    reply to Ed

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We appreciate the feedback, Ed! We do our best to create plans that work well for our customers, and we couldn’t do that without hearing from customers like you! I’ve passed your ideas on to our management team, so thank you for taking the time to post. If our plans change in the future, we’ll be sure to let our customers know here on the blog and through our other social media channels as well. Thank you again for commenting today, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  13. Linda Pearson says

    I am considering switching from my nearly outdated motorola flip phone to a Huewei Vision 3LTE with a $35 credit. I make few calls, don’t text yet, and wish to take and share good photos. Will my monthly bill change with this android smart phone?

    reply to Linda

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Linda. If you currently have a talk plan as well as a text and data plan, you can keep your monthly bill the same. If you want to use all of the features of your smartphone like going online, listening to music or watching videos, we recommend using Wi-Fi whenever possible. That way you’ll be able to enjoy your phone without using data from your plan. If you don’t currently have a text and data plan, you will need one if you want to try texting and other features. We offer many affordable options here on our site. If you like, we’re happy to talk with you about the Vision 3 LTE and recommend a plan based on your needs. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we’ll be ready to assist you. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and we’re sure you’ll love using a smartphone!

      reply to Ashley

  14. Doug says

    I noticed that I’m using very small increments of data (.01-.06 MB) 4 times a day; 12 am, 6 am, 12 pm, and 6 pm every day. I just started about a week ago and this has been happening every day. Is this being pushed to me or downloaded from me, and what is it?

    reply to Doug

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Doug. The times that you are seeing on your phone correlate to the time that that towers report your data to us. You might be using small amounts of data throughout the day, but it will generally only show at those times. It could be due to a number of things, such as receiving app updates or sending an email. As a reminder, we recommend keeping Wi-Fi turned on whenever you can so you can save your plan data for when you really need it. If we can answer any other questions you may have about your data usage or your plan, just give us a call at 888-345-5509 and we will be happy to help you. Thank you for posting today!

      reply to Ashley

  15. Mary Ann says

    I have a Motorola G and will be traveling to Europe. What is the best way for me to keep in touch with my family during my trip. What are the talk charges for International calls.

    reply to Mary

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Mary Ann. First, your service is designed to work only within the United States, so we recommend keeping your phone in Airplane Mode once you arrive overseas. Otherwise, you may be subject to costly international roaming fees. There are many great ways to keep in touch using Wi-Fi, though. If you can connect to a Wi-Fi network, you can use apps such as Skype, Facebook or Google Hangouts to call friends and family or send messages. These apps are free, and can be found in the Google Play Store. We’re happy to answer any other questions you may have about using your phone abroad at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you taking the time to post, and we hope you have a wonderful time in Europe!

      reply to Ashley

  16. Monte says

    Speaking of WiFi, now that WiFi calling is available to iPhone users of the AT&T, and Verizon networks, I’m wondering if you’ll be passing along this benefit to your members.

    reply to Monte

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Monte. At this time, we don’t have Wi-Fi calling available for our customers, but if that should change, we will be sure to announce it here on our blog. We appreciate your suggestion, and for taking the time to post today!

      reply to Ashley

  17. Joan Faherty says

    I am having a problem understanding wifi vs data. When I am home I think I have my phone on wifi. I have that fan thingy on top and when I check for connection it says I am. When I leave home I turn my phone off so I don’t use anything. My plan keeps saying that I’m using too much data. Not understanding this.

    reply to Joan

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      I’m happy to help clear that up, Joan. We’re glad to hear that you are able to connect to Wi-Fi when you are at home. When your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, it won’t need to use data from your plan. Data is used whenever you go online, stream a video, use the GPS, stream music, use as a hotspot or download items to your phone, unless you are connected to Wi-Fi. You may want to check your Wi-Fi signal to make sure it is strong, as a weaker connection may not work well with your device. I took a look at your account, and I see that you are currently using the Moto E LTE. You can turn cellular data off if you like, which will prevent you from using any data unknowingly. Just open your Settings app, then select Data usage. Move the slider at the top to the “off” position. Next, select the menu at the top right corner (it should look like three dots). Then select “Restrict background data”. Then tap “OK”. That’s it! If you continue experiencing issues, please feel free to call us at 888-345-5509. Thank you for reaching out to us, and we hope you have a great day!

      reply to Ashley

  18. Larry Schmitz says

    Having a teenage son on our account that uses almost all of our data each month is getting costly. This past month was the first time we exceeded the 4GB plan. Definitely need to upgrade the plans for those where this occurs. If we’re paying $10 for each GB of data each month I don’t see why this can’t happen!

    reply to Larry

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for the feedback, Larry. If you like, we’re happy to review your account with you and discuss some solutions for your data needs. Just give us a call at 888-345-5509, and we’ll do our best to find a plan that works for everyone in your family. We appreciate you taking the time to post, and we look forward to speaking with you!

      reply to Ashley

  19. Sandy says

    I have just changed over to Consumer Cellular and I mean June 4th . And if I read right I have used all my data. I’m worried because I have been in wifi at my home ?

    reply to Sandy

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for reaching out to us, Sandy. We’re glad to hear that you have been using Wi-Fi at home, which allows you to save your data for times when you really need it. If you’ve been connected to Wi-Fi but your phone is still using data, we’re happy to look at your settings and prevent this from happening. Can you give us a call at 888-345-5509 so we can troubleshoot this for you? That way, you won’t need to worry about using the data from your plan unexpectedly. We appreciate you posting, and we look forward to talking with you!

      reply to Ashley

  20. Christie says

    So I have another data question. I understand I can’t use the phone service outside of the US, but what about my data plan? Is it useable in, say, China? Thanks.

    reply to Christie

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      That’s a great question, Christie. Your phone connects to the cellular towers for your data connection as well, so your data wouldn’t work in China either. However, you can always keep your phone on Airplane mode, then use a Wi-Fi connection to go online. This is a great option if you are at a hotel or coffee shop while traveling. If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you can keep in touch with iMessage or Google Hangouts, and even have video chats by using Skype or a similar app. That way, you can keep in touch without worrying about any unexpected international charges. We’re happy to talk with your about these options at 888-345-5509. Thank you for posting, and we wish you many happy travels!

      reply to Ashley

  21. Marlene Paahao says

    I tried to reach your office and after a long wait, I was transferred to someone else, and I waited at least 45 mn and no one answered. I finally hung up. My data usage was out of my normal this month, I did watch some Netflix, but the WiFi should have been used, not my data. What could have happened and how can I protect myself from using data when WiFi should be used?

    reply to Marlene

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We apologize for the wait, Marlene. I’m happy to answer your question here. First, streaming videos using an app like Netflix can use a lot of data quickly, so we recommend only doing so when you’re connected to a good Wi-Fi network. If the Wi-Fi signal gets low, your phone may revert to using data. To ensure you aren’t using any data at all, you may need to turn off your background data and turn data off completely. For an Ascend Mate 2 like yours, just go to Settings, then Mobile Networks. You’ll need to uncheck each of the options listed. To turn off any background data being used, open your Settings app, then go to More. Select Data Usage, then the Options menu. This will be the three little squares at the bottom right of your screen. Uncheck data roaming and auto-sync data, then make sure the “restrict background data” option is checked. We’re happy to walk you through this if you like over the phone at 888-345-5509. Thank you for taking the time to post, and we hope these steps will help you enjoy catching up on Netflix!

      reply to Ashley

  22. Don Williams says

    Is there a simple way to define what processes or programs consume data? For example, the program that accepts text to send to a phone or email address is probably counted as “texting”, but when it goes to an email address, is it still counted as test or is it data? GPS?

    I made a couple of calls to support but really didn’t come back with a clear understanding of what constitutes “data”.

    Regarding GPS, how do you pre-download maps before leaving a WiFi service?

    reply to Don

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Great question, Don! Your phone can use data for many features, including using the email and internet features, streaming music or video, using location services (GPS), using certain apps and updating features on your phone. Sending a standard text message will not use data from your plan. You can see exactly which apps are using data and how much easily. I took a look at your account, and I see that you’re using an iPhone. Go ahead and select your Settings app, then then select Cellular Data. Scroll down, and you’ll see a list of all the apps on your phone, and how much data they are using. If you like, you can toggle the On/Off switch next to an app to restrict it from using data.

      Downloading maps to your phone while connected to Wi-Fi is a great way to conserve your data. First, this is easy to do with the popular Google Maps app, which you can download to your phone. Next, open the map and search for a location, such as “San Francisco”. Once you see the map on the screen, tap the name or address of the place and tap the “…” option to see more. Then select “Download offline map”. Then when you’re away from your Wi-Fi source, your phone won’t need to use data to navigate.

      If we can be of any further assistance as you get to know your phone, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. We very much appreciate you posting today, and hope you have a lovely day!

      reply to Ashley

  23. Jorge Lopez says

    I want to schedule the DATA service from Consumer Cellular on a particular phone (Example: DATA OFF during school days – during specific hours). Do I need to go to “Manage Messaging/Data” to turn On/Off Data service every time I want do do the change or there is another way? When I do the change to OFF or ON, does the change take place immediately?

    reply to Jorge

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      Thank you for asking, Jorge. Our “Manage Messaging/Data” feature is meant to be used as a way to remove these features from a device for an extended period of time. If you’re needing more flexibility, we recommend looking at one of the family data management apps available. Many allow you to set limits on data usage and how the data can be used. If we can answer any other questions you have about data usage or about setting limits within your account, please don’t hesitate to call us at 888-345-5509. We appreciate you posting today!

      reply to Ashley

  24. Hannelore Wiese says

    I’ve downloaded Whatsapp and I have Wi-Fi. When I text on Whatsapp which is for free, does that add data use to my phone? I don’t call and I don’t text (except w/ Whatsapp) but I have a huge data usage, why?
    Thank you much for your answer.

    reply to Hannelore

    • Ashley at Consumer Cellular says

      We appreciate you posting, Hannelore. Connecting to Wi-Fi is a great way to save your data for when you really need it. If you’re still using data unintentionally, your Wi-Fi signal may not be strong enough, or you may have some apps that are updating or using data in the background. You can see just how much data each app is using in your Settings. I was able to take a look at your account, and I see that you’re using the ZTE Avid 828. To see your data usage by app, go to Settings, then select Data usage. If you scroll down, you can see which apps are using data. You can also turn off mobile data all together here as well. If we can assist you with anything else at this time, please give us a call at 888-345-5509. Thanks you for reaching out to us, and we hope you have a lovely day!

      reply to Ashley

  25. Michael Casey says

    When Texting, would this count against your Data plan @ CC

    reply to Michael

  26. williambarnes says

    Hello,

    I am considering using the TextNow app on my phone. When I am not using wi-fi, what would be the data rate for using that app? It will be used just for answering/making calls and texts. But I want to leave it open for times when people call or text me.

    reply to williambarnes

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