Estimate Your Data Usage With Data Calculators

Don't upgrade just yet — guess how much data you'll use first

The last thing you want is to pay too much for data, but in the same vein, you don't want to spend so little that you underestimate your usage and end up paying even more in overage charges.

Or, in a possibly worse scenario, your data plan might even be suspended until the next billing cycle if you use up all your data.

So, how do you know for sure how much data you'll use? You can't know for sure since nothing can accurately estimate how many Netflix movies you'll stream from your couch, YouTube videos you'll play on your Chromecast, and pictures you'll upload to Facebook.

Why You Should Use a Data Usage Calculator

There are some data calculators you can lean on that ask questions about your past habits and assumed future habits so that you can estimate how much data is needed to do those types of things (like send emails, stream videos, etc.).

Once you're told how much data you might use, you can use that information to more accurately predict what type of plan you should buy. For example, if the calculator estimates that you'd use 1.5 GB of mobile data, you'd want to opt for something like a 2 GB plan so that you don't overpay, but be sure to stay above 1 GB to not cut yourself off too early.

Another use for these data calculators is to fill them out within the parameters of your current data plan, but only fill out what you need to do before what choosing all your wants so that you can see why you're going over your monthly allowance and what you can do to limit your data usage.

For example, if you adjust all the different options in the calculator and it's already at 5 GB (and that's your maximum data usage per month), but you haven't even entered social media information, you can assume that you'll stay within your data limit if you avoid social media websites.

If you keep going over your monthly data allowance and that's why you're wondering how much data to upgrade to, look at your past data habits, either on your device or through your bills. That will tell you exactly how much data you've been using, which you can then use to decide what kind of plan to pay for so that you stop going over your monthly allowance.

Since most calculators don’t add VoIP as an item, consider estimating VoIP’s usage if you think you'll be using it often.

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AT&T's Internet Data Calculator

AT&T Data Calculator
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Since the data we use is most easily broken down into categories like email, web surfing, and video streaming, AT&T's data calculator provides that type of criteria and more.

On the data usage calculator page, use the slider to pick a value. For example, slide the "Social media posts with photos" to 400 if you think you post that many images ​to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., every month.

The same is true for the Hours of streaming 4K video, Time spent online gaming, Emails sent and received, and other options.

AT&T also has an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot data usage calculator that gives similar information.

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T-Mobile's Smartphone Mobile HotSpot Data Calculator

T-Mobile Data Mobile HotSpot Data Calculator

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If you plan to share your T-Mobile service from your phone with your laptop or tablet, be sure to check out the T-Mobile Mobile HotSpot Data Calculator.

T-Mobile's data usage estimator asks you about your streaming habits, app downloads, web surfing, email, and more. Just select a number from each entry to say how many minutes you'll spend doing that, or how many files or items you'll use within each category.

Another way to estimate data usage with this calculator is to select a data plan on the right, like the 5 GB one for example, and then see what the calculator shows for everything you could do with 5 GB of data.

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Cable One's Home Data Calculator

Cable One Data Calculator

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The Cable One data calculator is a bit more complex than the others we've listed on this page. For starters, you can choose a pre-set option like low, normal, or high to autofill all the options.

Otherwise, choose values for specific areas if you think you'll use the internet for those purposes.

You can pick a different value for general web browsers versus multimedia use, as well as the number of emails you'll send/receive with and without file attachments.

In addition to those value slots for document uploads, photo uploads, and online backup use. The downloads section lets you pick between software downloads and updates like Windows Update downloads and virus definition updates.

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Fido's Mobile Data Calculator

Fido Mobile Data Calculator

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To start with the Fideo Mobile Data Calculator, choose either a phone, mobile hotspot, or tablet. It probably doesn't matter much which you choose for testing purposes, but go ahead and pick one of them.

Similar to other data calculators, use the sliders to estimate how much you'll use each service. There's one for emails, instant messages, music, HD video streaming, SD video streaming, photo sharing, and others.

You can also enter an exact figure for each of those areas if you don't want to use the slider.

As you adjust each item, you'll see the estimated usage indicator move at the top of that page. When you're all done, look at the number to get an estimate of how much data you'd use given the criteria.

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U.S. Cellular's Data Usage Estimator

U.S. Cellular Data Estimator

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U.S. Cellular has a data calculator, too. Just choose your device type from the drop-down menu at the top of that page to get started.

Choose Day or Month next to any or all of the options you see there, and then slide the button to the right to increase your estimate on how much you'll use of that particular item during that period of time.

There's one for downloads like apps, games, books, songs, and others, as well as one for music, SD and HD video, social media posts, emails, and more.

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Sprint's Data Calculator

Sprint Data Calculator

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In much the same way all of these other data usage calculators work, Sprint's data calculator lets you pick between a phone and others like a laptop or tablet.

Pick day, week, or month from each category and then use the slider to adjust your usage. Pick how many emails you think you'll send and receive, how many websites you'll open, social media posts you'll make, hours of music you'll stream, etc.

Watch the slider at the bottom of that page to see how much data Sprint estimates you'll need to pay for.