Data Usage and Internet Literacy: What is a Megabyte/Gigabyte?

By: Right for Education


posted on: September 18th, 2017

When trying to find out how much data different apps use, it is always represented in MB or GB. Below I will explain what these terms mean, and how they equate to financial cost.

WHAT IS A BYTE?

A “byte” is the word used to describe the unit of measurement of digital information. Just like centimetres are used to measure length, bytes are used to measure data usage. Bytes are very small and therefore you will rarely see this measurement used.

WHAT IS A MEGABYTE?

A megabyte, often written as MB, is equal to 1 million bytes, and because bytes are so small, you will normally see data usage measured in MB or GB, rather than in bytes. So you have an idea of how much you can use the internet for 1MB, an hour of using an instant messaging app such as Facebook messenger or WhatsApp uses 0.25-1MB, or downloading 100 emails uses 1-10MB.

WHAT IS A GIGABYTE?

A Gigabyte, often written as GB, is equal to 1000 megabytes or a billion bytes. To have an idea of how much you can use the internet for 1GB, streaming 1 hour of high definition video will use 1-2GB.

HOW MUCH DO MB/GB COST?

The cost of data varies between countries and between mobile networks and operators. However, 1 gigabyte costs around $5. In order to figure out how much time you can afford to spend on the internet, decide how many GB you want to pay for, then look at how much data is used by the apps and websites you visit. Add up how much data you are using and make sure it is under the amount you want to pay for.

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