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Understand mobile data

Learn about mobile data usage so you can choose the right plan for your business. 

The amount of mobile data your business needs depends on how your team will use their phones, and how often they'll be out of range of WiFi coverage.

  • Sending and receiving 1000 basic emails without attachments or large images would use less than 50MB
  • The average download size for an app on iOS is 23MB for standard apps & 60MB for games. Some apps can be more than 1GB in size
  • Streaming music on Spotify can use anywhere from 50MB to 120MB of data per hour depending on the quality of the audio
  • Streaming video can use anywhere from 1GB to 4GB of data per hour, depending on the quality of the video

We recommend you use WiFi when you can, particularly when streaming video or downloading large files. If you connect your phone to a WiFi network, it will automatically use this instead of your mobile data. So when you’re at home or work, check you’re connected to WiFi.

As a Spark mobile customer you also get access 1000+ free WiFi hotspots all over NZ. You can use up to 1GB per day with these. Find a Spark WiFi hotspot

Downloads are measured in bytes: Megabytes (MB), Gigabytes (GB). Each increment is 1000x larger than the one before it. So 500MB = 0.5GB.


Speed is measured in Megabits per second. There are 8 bits in a byte. If your connection speed is 100Mbps, you can download 12.5MB of data per second. If a movie you download is 1GB in size, it will take 80 seconds to download at this speed.


The speed of your connection has no bearing on how much data you're using. It's the size of the file being downloaded that will use your data allowance.

iPhones use a feature called WiFi Assist, which uses mobile data even if you’re connected to WiFi. It automatically kicks in to give you faster internet if the WiFi signal is poor. It means you’ll be using mobile data, so we recommend you switch this off unless you need it. Learn how to switch off WiFi assist

If you find you or your team using a lot of mobile data, these could be the causes.

Internet streaming

Instead of streaming music on your mobile, check out Spotify Premium’s offline music feature instead. You can download up to 3,000 songs over WiFi onto your phone and listen to them offline.

Using your mobile as a WiFi hotspot

This is a really useful feature but it can use a lot of data. We’d recommend using it sparingly. We’d also recommend turning off automatic software updates on your computer before using your mobile as a hotspot.

App updates

Both iOS and Android have settings for app updates and we recommend setting them to auto update over WiFi only, or to never auto-update.

Downloading or uploading large files

Limit downloading or uploading any large files as much as possible. A good example of this is backing up photos or videos from your mobile. Keep these kind of tasks for when you have WiFi.