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How much data do I need? Get Set for summer

An illustration of a person sitting on a bench, having a video chat at sunset. Intended to suggest freedom from worry about how much mobile data is being used.

How much data do I need? It’s a question as old as time. Or at least, as old as the time since we’ve had smartphones. 

If you’re like most people, how much data you need is not fixed; in the summer, we tend to use more. In cooler months (or, say, when we’re in the grip of a global pandemic) and we’re home more, around Wi-Fi, we tend to use less mobile data.

Ting Mobile has plans to fit both high and low data users; Unlimited plans with up to 35 GB of fast data and the $10 Flex plan with pay-per-use data, shared across lines in an account, at $5 per GB.

The Ting Mobile Set 12 plan, though, is right in the sweet spot. With 12 GB of fast data on LTE or 5G* and the comfort of knowing you can do anything you want online. The $35 per month price tag hits the sweet spot too.

What can you do with 12 GB of data?

You can do pretty much anything with 12 GB without having to think much about conservation. 

Note that anything you do while connected to Wi-Fi doesn’t count toward your mobile data.

Streaming music

The specific streaming service you choose (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music) and the streaming quality you select impact how much data you need. 100 MB (megabytes) per hour of audio streaming is about the average.

There are 1000 MB (megabytes) in a GB (gigabyte) so 1 GB = about 10 hours of streaming audio. 

With 12 GB, you can stream up to 120 hours of music when not on Wi-Fi. That’s five days and nights… and that is one serious beach party.

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

Streaming video

Video is up there in terms of drain on your data plan. 12 GB is plenty for most of us.

With 12 GB you can watch mobile-optimized YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or other streaming video without worry. Using Netflix as an example, 1 GB allows about four hours of streaming. 

With 12 GB, you can stream mobile-optimized video for about 48 hours or two full days when out of Wi-Fi range. 

Not enough to do away with your home internet connection but more than enough to stay entertained on a summer road trip.

Video calls

Video calls are well optimized for mobile. A FaceTime video call uses about 3 MB of data per minute or 180 MB per hour. With 1000 MB in a GB, that translates to about 5.5 hours per GB.

With 12 GB you can Facetime for over 66 hours away from Wi-Fi.

Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash

Social media

Things like Facebook videos, Instagram Reels or scrolling your TikTok feed can add up quickly. Turning on data-saving mode on TikTok, for example, cuts data use by more than half to about 360 MB per hour. It’s a worthwhile step.

There are 1000 MB in 1 GB so 1 GB at 360 MB per hour we’re looking at 2.75 hours per GB

With 12 GB, you can scroll TikTok for 33 hours when away from Wi-Fi.


Smartphones can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect your laptop or tablet. Laptops especially don’t think about how much data they’re using so it can rack up fast. 

That means it’s impossible to say how much data using your phone as a hotspot (sometimes called tethering) will eat up. With up to 8 GB of your 12 GB available to use in hotspot mode, you’ll be able to get connected on your laptop but you’ll want to be careful. Use a utility like TripMode (available on MacOS or Windows) to keep track of how much you’re using and to take control of data-heavy applications.

Everything online

We use our phones for everything; navigating, checking restaurant reviews, ordering ahead, browsing, email and so on and so on. “How much data do I need” is a tough one but for most people, the Set 12 plan with 12 GB is a great answer.

To maximize your mobile data, we’ve compiled a bunch of our top data saving tips that will help you do more with every gigabyte.

Even if you did manage to exceed 12 GB on the Set 12 plan, you’re not left out in the cold. You can top up fast data (LTE and 5G) for $5 per GB anytime you need it. 

The Set 12 plan also includes unlimited data at 2G speeds so even if you do manage to use all your fast data, you’re still connected to low-demand stuff like text-based messaging (WhatsApp, iMessage, Telegraph etc.), email, navigation using Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps or similar. 

Get the Set 12 plan

The $35 Ting Mobile Set 12 plan is Ting Mobile’s best answer to “how much data do I need?” 12 GB is a lot; more than enough for most. You won’t need to worry about running out but at the same time, you don’t have to step up to a more expensive unlimited plan, perhaps leaving data on the table at the end of the month.

If you’re looking for a plan that hits the sweet spot for summer and beyond, this is it.

*5G compatible phone required