My cellular data usage and ponderings

I have a data SIM in my phone, with a 5GB / month allowance.

I also have a Wi-Fi hotspot, in which I have an EE SIM which offered 120GB of data for £50.

My SIM-only phone contract is up for renewal, and the data on my data SIM in my Wi-Fi hotspot is due to expire in a few days, so I thought I’d look at what my actual usage was, to work out what I should do next.

In particular, do I go back to combining phone and hotspot?

SIM in phone

Since I got the hotspot, I don’t tend to tether my phone other than in emergencies. And, most of the time, these days, I’m at home, and so connected to Wi-Fi.

I use my phone when out and about mostly for email, web, and messaging - perhaps the occasional video call - so nothing particularly data intensive.

And I filter my Internet connection, to drop ads and trackers.

So my cellular data usage was unsurprisingly pretty low:

Month Data used (MB)
February 23 350
Jan 23 550
Dec 22 1050
Nov 2050
Oct 1500
Sept 730
Aug 830
July 1200
June 1220
May 3260
April 2900
March 2600

Even on the month I used the most - May 2022, with 3.2 GB - I was well inside my 5GB / month allowance.

SIM in Wi-Fi hotspot

I don’t have a granular breakdown for my hotspot, but, in the last year, I used 41.3GB, of my 120GB allowance.

So, roughly roughly, 3.5GB per month.

This is higher than I was expecting, given that most of my online activity is email, web, and ssh, so not really that data intensive. I don’t stream video from my media server, YouTube etc over my hotspot (I have a memory stick full of audio and video, so I can watch stuff offline if I really want to), but I do use it for occasional video conferencing.


If I want to ditch the hotspot and tether my phone, 5GB / month is going to be tight. I’d need to increase the data cap on my phone plan, so that I don’t need to think about it.

I’m not even halfway through my data allowance on the SIM in my hotspot. So, at £50 for the year / £4ish per month, I basically don’t need to worry about continuing to work as I do currently, and I could probably comfortably stream audio while working too.

And, in using the hotspot, I don’t need to worry about the battery life in my phone.