Press release:

Locked-down consumers sitting on 165 million gigabytes of unused mobile data worth £165 million.

  • Housebound smartphone users are sitting on 165 million gigabytes of unused mobile data[1] as they use WiFi in lockdown worth a staggering £165 million[2]
  • Non-essential workers are using 500MB less data a month than they did before the lockdown, a fall of a fifth (21%) on the average 2.4GB monthly usage[3] 
  • One in five consumers (22%) are hoping for a refund for any unused data, while one in ten (11%) would like to donate their excess data to essential workers and 8% would like the equivalent cost donated to charity[4]
  • Essential workers’ data use has increased by 100MB (4%) a month in the same period as they leave their homes to keep the country running[5] 
  • Uswitch.com’s guide helps consumers work out how much data they need and how to find the most appropriate deal.

Locked-down Britons are sitting on 165 million gigabytes of unused mobile data[1] worth a staggering £165 million[2], according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

With millions of us confined to our homes during the nationwide lockdown, consumers are using a fraction of the data that they would usually, as they rely on their household Wi-Fi to stay connected.

Among those who are not essential workers, average data use has dropped from 2.4GB a month in February to 1.9GB a month now — a fall of 500MB, or 21%[3].

By contrast, essential workers’ data usage has increased by 100MB (a rise of almost 4%) over the same period, up to 2.8GB a month in lockdown, compared to 2.7GB in February[5].

More than a third of consumers (38%) want their unused data to be rolled over to the following month, while one in five (22%) would like a refund on any unused data[4]. A generous one in ten (11%) would like to give their unused data to essential workers, and 8% want a monetary equivalent to be donated to charity[4].

Ru Bhihka, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments:  “Locked-down consumers are sitting on a mountain of unused mobile data worth a staggering £165 million.

“We have mobile deals set up to accommodate browsing on the go – but since so many of us are homebound and relying on Wi-Fi to stay connected, we’re simply not burning through our data allowances in the same way.

“Many consumers would like to see this data rolled over to when they have more use for it, and it’s great to see some providers like Sky Mobile already doing that.

“If you are unsure about how much data you need, it’s worth checking to see how much you are currently using each month and if it is more than you require, run a comparison to see if you can find a better suited plan.”

Find out how you could save nearly £1,000 a year with Uswitch here

— ends —

Notes to editors

  1. Opinium surveyed a sample of 2,002 UK adults from the 1st to 4th May 2020. Results were weighted to reflect a nationally representative criteria. Seven in ten consumers have a data allowance with their mobile device, with the average allowance being 7.1GB a month. One in ten (10%) have unlimited data. Consumers expect they will leave 5GB unused at the end of the month. 52.4million consumers in the UK. 70% have data allowance. 90% have limited data. 33million consumers have limited data. 33million x 5GB. = 165 million GB of unused data now.
  2. Uswitch analysis of the cost of data on the most popular SIM-only deals from the last 90 days shows 1GB of data costs £1. £1 x 165 million = £165 million.
  3. Respondents were asked ‘Thinking about your data usage so far in lockdown, how many gigabytes of data do you think will be unused of this month’s allowance?’ Respondents who said they were not still leaving your home to go to a work or volunteering role predicted they would not have used 4.4GB of data at the end of the month. The corresponding figure for February was 3.9GB. The average monthly data allowance for ‘non-essential’ respondents was 6.3GB. In February ‘non-essential’ workers were using 6.3GB – 3.9GB = 2.4GB. In lockdown they are using 6.3GB – 4.4GB = 1.9GB. 2.4GB – 1.9GB = 0.5GB = 500MB.
  4. Respondents were asked ‘What would you like your provider to do about your unused mobile data?’ 38% said ‘roll my unused data onto next month’s allowance’. 22% said ‘give me a refund’. 12% said ‘I don’t care what happens’. 11% said ‘donate the monetary value of the data to charity’. 8% said ‘donate the monetary value of the data to charity’. 10% said ‘don’t know’. 
  5. Respondents were asked ‘Thinking about your data usage so far in lockdown, how many gigabytes of data do you think will be unused of this month’s allowance?’ Respondents who were still leaving your home to go to a work or volunteering role predicted they would not have used 6.2GB of data at the end of the month. The corresponding figure for February was 6.3GB. The average monthly data allowance for ‘essential’ respondents was 9GB. In February ‘essential’ workers were using 9GB – 6.3GB = 2.7GB. In lockdown they are using 9GB – 6.2GB = 2.8GB. 2.8GB – 2.7GB = 0.1GB = 100MB

About us

It’s all about “U”!

Thank you for indulging us over the last 20 years by using a small ‘u’ and a big ‘S’ when writing about our brand in your articles.

We are delighted to let you know that you are now off the hook - it’s big U’s all the way (and small s’s) as we undertake our biggest ever rebrand - so let your autocorrect go wild!

About Uswitch

Uswitch is the UK’s top comparison website for home services switching. Launched in September 2000, we help consumers save money on their gas, electricity, broadband, mobile, TV, and financial services products and get more of what matters to them. Last year we saved consumers over £373 million on their energy bills alone.

Uswitch is part of RVU, a new business that also owns Money.co.uk and Bankrate.

If you would no longer like to receive our press releases please email prteam@uswitch.com with 'unsubscribe'.