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What is Mobile Data? A Guide to Staying Connected on the Go

Ever wondered how you can browse the web, use social media, or even hail a taxi with just a tap of your phone? The answer is mobile data which we all know, but how does it work exactly? Here you can find out all there is to know about mobile data and understand how you stay connected on the go. 

illustration of a man using his mobile

Mobile Data: Your Pocket-Sized Internet Connection

Think of mobile data as your personal internet assistant, ready to spring into action whenever you're not connected to Wi-Fi. Mobile phones use cellular networks that send signals to a vast web of interconnected towers, that receive and send information while you’re on the go. This data, measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB), is what allows you to do all the fun things you love on your phone – scrolling through social media, catching up on news articles, or even video chatting with friends.

How Does Mobile Data Work?

Here is a breakdown of the journey your mobile data takes:

1. Your phone's cellular modem translates information into radio waves. 

2. Your phone sends these data waves to nearby cell towers. 

3. Cell towers receive and forward the data to a central switching centre. 

4. The centre directs the data to its destination and then sends it back to your phone. 

5. Your phone deciphers the data, and you see the website load or app function. 

6. Cell tower technologies (like 4G and 5G) impact your data speed.

illustration of a woman using her mobile

Mobile Data vs Wi-Fi: Understanding the Difference

You might be wondering, what the difference is between mobile data and Wi-Fi. Both get you online, but they work in different ways. Think of Wi-Fi as a familiar friend – it provides an internet connection at home, in cafes, or other hotspots through a local wireless network. Mobile data, on the other hand, is your on-the-go companion, letting you use the internet using cellular networks wherever you roam. 

Wi-Fi connections are often stronger and more stable, ideal for tasks that require a lot of data, like streaming high-definition videos. Mobile data, however, offers the flexibility of staying connected almost anywhere, making it perfect for checking emails, browsing the web, or using social media.

illustration of a man using social media

How to reduce Mobile Data usage

You can often restrict background data usage on certain apps to avoid hidden data drains. For instance, some apps might automatically refresh content in the background, even when you're not actively using them. By restricting background data for these apps, you can help conserve your mobile data allowance.

Turning Mobile Data on and Off: iOS & Android

Need to conserve your mobile data for a bit? Luckily, turning it on and off is a breeze! Here's a quick guide for both iOS and Android users:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap on Cellular (or Mobile Data on some older iPhones).

3. Toggle the switch next to Cellular Data on or off.

1. Swipe down from the top of your screen to open the notification panel.

2. Look for the Mobile Data icon (it might look like a series of arrows pointing up and down). Tap the icon to turn it on or off. *Alternatively, you can also access mobile data through settings: Open the Settings app.

3. Tap on Connections or Network & internet (depending on your device).

4. Tap on Mobile data and toggle the switch on or off.

Enjoy Mobile Data with Award-Winning service

Here at Your Co-op Mobile, we know data plans aren't a one-size-fits-all affair. That's why we offer a variety of options to suit your needs. Whether you're a casual internet user or a data-hungry streamer and scroller, we have a plan that fits your lifestyle. 

If you're ever unsure about which plan is right for you, our friendly and award-winning customer service team is always happy to help! So, get out there, explore, and stay connected with confidence, thanks to 5G mobile data supplied by Your Co-op!

Explore SIM-only deals here.