Brits are £260 million out of pocket every month due to unused mobile phone data

Brits are £260 million out of pocket every month due to unused mobile phone data

Thursday 24 November 2022
  • Comes as Sky Mobile hits three million customers - now the fastest-growing mobile provider in the UK*
  • Sky Mobile calls on Brits to check their mobile contracts to ensure they are getting the best value for what they need

Sky Mobile announces today that it has reached three million customers and is now the fastest-growing mobile provider in the UK.* With Sky Mobile enabling customers to ‘roll’ and therefore keep their spare data every month, these three million customers are protected from the ‘data consumption gap’ - the gulf between the data we pay for and the data we actually use each month.

Providing customers with the option to keep unused data is crucial as new research shows on average mobile users in the UK are not using - and therefore losing - 94GB of the data paid for each year. This equates to a financial loss of £84 a year per person – a £3bn total loss across the UK.

This overpayment is a combination of the majority of providers not enabling customers to keep their unused data, as well as a lack of transparency around how much data customers require to suit their needs – therefore creating a ‘data consumption gap’:

  • On average Brits have nearly half (44%) of their data left over at the end of every month
  • However, two in five (39%) say they pay for more data just in case they run out
  • Nearly half (46%) don’t understand how much usage 1GB equates to causing a lack of understanding about how much data they need each month

With over half of Brits (52%) saying they want to spend less on their mobile contract amid the rising cost of living, Sky is calling on Brits to check their mobile plans to see how much data they are using and whether they could be saving money by switching or changing their contract.

Paul Sweeney, Managing Director, Sky Mobile, said: “At a time where we are all trying to alleviate financial pressures, it’s more important than ever to ensure your mobile contract provides good value. We should all be checking our contracts to ensure our mobile provider is giving us the flexibility to evolve as our needs do.”

Brits could save an average of £7 per person per month with Sky Mobile due the ability to roll spare data – this spare data can then be shared with friends and family or stored for later use.** On top of this, with the opportunity to mix contracts – scaling plans up or down each month - customers have the option to only pay for what they need.

Paul Sweeney, added: Our focus from the beginning has been about creating value and fairness for our customers and this is what we continue to do day in, day out for our three million customers.”

Tips for understanding your data consumption

Over a fifth (22%) of Brits say they don’t feel confident tracking their data – here are Sky Mobile’s tips for staying on top of your phone bill:

  • Check your contracts: 54% of Brits say they don’t check how much they use of their plan each month. This is crucial for understanding where you could be saving money. Most providers enable you to track this as you go, by downloading their app which tells you how much data you have used and what proportion you have left. It’s good to check this throughout the month, but particularly at the end of the month to get an idea of how much you have or haven’t used of your contract.
  • Pick a provider that offers you flexibility: Not all providers enable you to change your plan whenever you like during your minimum term – this can be essential if your needs change month to month. In addition, this research shows that there is a huge gulf in the amount of data we pay for and the amount of data we use – being able to keep this unused data is really important. Three in five (62%) of Brits say they want the ability to do this.
  • Remember how much streaming/searching you can do: Part of this data consumption gap is because people don’t understand what 1GB equates to. Keep in mind that watching 80 minutes of a standard definition video or scrolling for 16 hours on the internet would use 1GB of data.

Notes to editors

* Mobile market analysis from CCS Insight

** £7.02 is the average amount that a mobile user (bundled or SIM only) loses every month due to unused data. This is aggregated on average costs of data across the four biggest operators (Vodafone, EE, O2, Three)

About the research

Over the period 18-21 October 2022, Opinium on behalf of Sky Mobile undertook a survey of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults. The survey asked questions concerning various matters to do with mobile phone contracts and data usage.

Development Economics undertook analysis of Opinium’s survey results to calculate the average amount of unused data each month by mobile customers and the potential cost to this. This analysis was combined with various demographic datasets obtained from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) alongside publicly available information on industry market shares and contract/SIM only prices across Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three.

For further information please contact:

Poppy James –

Sky Mobile network benefits at a glance:

Sky Mobile is a Which? Recommended provider status and winner of Best Value network in the 2022 Choose Awards. Unlike other network providers, Sky Mobile lets customers keep all their data for up to three years. Every month any spare data rolls into your Piggybank ready for you to use later or share with family. Spare data can be shared with up to 7 SIMs on the account or can be exchanged for rewards, like accessories or money off a new phone. With up to 99% network coverage, Sky Mobile offers the UK’s cheapest annual data plan1 with up to twice as much data for half the price2, compared to the big networks.

  • Roll - Every month your spare data rolls into your Sky Piggybank ready for you to use later or even share with your family.
  • Watch - Stream Sky apps like Sky News, Sky Sports, Sky Go and more without using your data.
  • Text to Switch - Simply text PAC to 65075 to get your switching code. We’ll take care of the rest.
  • Swap - Swap to a shiny new phone anytime you like and save money when you swap your old one.
  • Mix - Change your plan whenever you like to suit your needs.
  • Piggybank - Share spare data in your Sky Piggybank with up to 7 SIMs on your account or exchange it for rewards.

About Sky

Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies and is part of Comcast Corporation, a global media and technology company that connects people to moments and experiences that matter. At Sky we Believe in Better. It’s in our DNA.

We’re famous for innovation. We offer streaming services NOW and WOW; the world’s smartest TV, Sky Glass; Sky Stream, the new, easy way to get the Sky Glass experience on any TV; and the best aggregation platform, Sky Q. We provide connectivity you can count on in mobile, and fast, secure, reliable residential and business broadband.

We’re Europe’s premium content producer. We create award-winning original content, produce the biggest live sporting events, and we provide free access to news and the arts.

We believe that we can have a positive impact on society, by supporting and creating tens of thousands of jobs, addressing digital inequality, being a diverse and inclusive employer, and becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

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