Average mobile data usage jumps by a whopping 11GB per month in lockdown

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Being cooped up in lockdown was always going to mean more mobile data use as people head online to beat the boredom and escape those same four walls.

But the amount and way that data usage has jumped is pretty pronounced, with 11GB more (on average) being consumed each month by members of the UK public.

According to SIM-only network Smarty, around half of the 2,002 people surveyed stated that the biggest contributor to this huge jump in data use is down to video calling with loved ones.

27% cited gaming as a big reason for data use rocketing upwards, while 20% put it down to online exercise classes. 16% are using more mobile data to take part in online classes and conduct research to learn new skills.

The 11GB figure is skewed most by Gen Z respondents - 20% of them are using a monumental 40GB or more than usual.

Keeping things Pinteresting in lockdown

So which video streaming services are using up most of the bandwidth? The study found that two thirds of Brits are using it to fight lockdown boredom with 37% watching Netflix, 24% on BBC iPlayer, 20% on Amazon Prime Video and 12% on the brand new Disney Plus streaming service.

Mobile apps play a big part in the data use surge, according to Smarty's survey, with 23% rise in use since lockdown started. Pinterest tops the lot with a 38% rise, Google Hangouts and Facebook are in joint second place with 35% and next comes Instagram with a 27% increase.

Nearly a quarter of people surveyed say they are looking to change their mobile network to get more data. If you're in that group then check out our best SIM only deals to see how much you can be saving. For its part, Smarty's 100GB data for £15 per month tariff is among the very best value big data plans around at the moment, and only ties you in to 30-day rolling contracts.

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Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.