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5GB of data - How much is it and how long does it last?

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Last updated: 05 August 2022

One of the main things to consider when choosing a new mobile plan or SIM-only deal is the amount of data you need each month. Getting too little can be frustrating, as you’ll be cut off and forced to pay for expensive data add-ons should you wish to get back online. On the other hand, generous data packages can be expensive so you don’t want to be overpaying if you’re not using it to the max. 

A common data allowance you’ll come across when comparing mobile deals is 5GB. But how much exactly is that? And how long will it last? Read this short guide to find out, and see whether 5GB of mobile data is enough for you.

What is 5GB?

5GB stands for 5 gigabytes. As 1 gigabyte is equal to 1,000 megabytes, 5GB is 5,000 megabytes. Bytes are units of data, and are not to be confused with bits, megabits, and gigabits, which are used to measure download and upload speeds. For more info, read our guide on the difference between bits and bytes.

How much is 5GB of mobile data?

Most network providers in the UK offer 5GB data packages, including big names like O2 and Vodafone, as well as smaller MVNOs such as iD Mobile and Asda Mobile. Prices currently start at just £6 per month from iD Mobile, but you could be paying as much as £28 a month from the likes of Vodafone. That’s why it’s so important to compare deals before committing!

Take a look at these 5GB mobile data plans:

1 month 5GB deals

Many network providers in the UK offer 5GB of data per month on rolling monthly SIM deals. These include:

Provider Calls and texts Monthly cost
TalkMobile Unlimited £6 See deal
iD Mobile Unlimited £6 See deal
Asda Mobile Unlimited £7 See deal
O2 Unlimited £23 See deal
Vodafone Unlimited £28 See deal

12 month 5GB deals

You can also choose to sign up for a longer 12-month SIM only contract offering 5GB of data per month. Take a look at the following deals:

Provider Calls and texts Monthly cost
iD Mobile Unlimited £6 See deal
Vodafone Unlimited £16 See deal

24 month 5GB deals

A few more providers offer 5GB of data per month on 24-month SIM deals. While you'll be sacrificing flexibility with these longer contracts, they could help you to save a few quid each month:

Provider Calls and texts Monthly cost
iD Mobile Unlimited £6 See deal
O2 Unlimited £11 See deal
BT Mobile Unlimited £13 See deal
Vodafone Unlimited £15 See deal

How long does 5GB last?

5GB can allow for almost 3 and a half days of internet browsing, over 2 days of social media scrolling, almost a day and a half of streaming music, or up to 16 hours+ of Netflix. With a 5GB monthly data plan, this equates to around 2 and a half hours of scrolling, an hour of music, and 6 minutes of YouTube in Full HD per day.

Here’s what you can do with 5GB of data:

Browsing the internet 3 days 11 hours 2.5 hours per day
Browsing social media 2 days 8 hours <2 hours per day
Sending files via email 500 files on average 16 files per day
Streaming music 1 day 9 hours 1 hour per day
Watching YouTube (480p) 18 hours 56 minutes 37 minutes per day
Watching YouTube (720p HD) 5 hours 45 minutes 11.5 minutes per day
Watching YouTube (1080p Full HD) 3 hours 2 minutes 6 minutes per day
Watching Netflix (Low quality) 16 hours 40 minutes 33 minutes per day
Watching Netflix (SD) 7 hours 6 minutes 14 minutes per day
Watching Netflix (HD) 1 hour 40 minutes 3 minutes per day
Watching Netflix (UHD) 43 minutes 1 minute 26 seconds per day
Video calling (SD) 9 hours 16 minutes 18.5 minutes per day
Video calling (UHD) 3 hours 5 minutes 6 minutes per day
Downloading/updating apps (Android) 435 apps on average 14 apps per day
Downloading/updating apps (iOS) 145 apps on average <5 apps per day

Is 5GB enough for me?

According to Ofcom’s latest Communications Markets Report, the average smartphone user consumers 4.5GB of mobile data in 2020. This rises year on year, so 5GB is probably in line with the current average.

So, if you’re an average mobile user, 5GB should be just about enough for you. This means no more than 2 hours of scrolling through social media each day, no more than an hour of streaming music, and leaving Netflix and other video streaming for when you’re on your home broadband connection.

If you think you do more than this, or you like to stream Netflix on your daily commute, you’ll most likely need a lot more than 5GB of data per month. Consider going for 10GB, or even 100GB. On the other hand, if you rarely use the internet on your phone, you could opt for a cheaper 2GB or even 1GB data plan.


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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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