Data usage is rapidly on the rise. Is Unlimited the way to go?

24 March 2015…the day Netflix expanded to Australia and NewZealand.

When it comes to on-demand streaming video services, there is none bigger than Netflix. They paved the way for others to follow and now the streaming giant is probably the single most influential factor in internet usage trends. Some would argue it has crippled the nbn network before it has even been completed, un-stabilised and inflated pricing, choking available bandwidth especially during peak times, and in turn vastly exploiting a publicly funded project for private industry gain.

Saying all that, Netflix is great with new movie titles and award winning series available for rapid HD and Ultra HD consumption daily. And as Australians our consumption seems to be very rapidly on the rise each and every month!

How much data does Netflix really chew up?

We last wrote a blog with these figures back in 2016. Streaming Netflix to your home will use at least 300MB per hour at the lowest quality (not too much data), while standard definition (SD) quality will use 700MB per hour (0.7GB), HD will use up to 3GB per hour which is lots!, and 4K Ultra HD will use a whopping 7GB per hour!

For example:

3hrs viewing x 7 times per week = approx 63GB per week on HD quality, and approx 147GB+ per week on 4K Ultra HD!

In any given month one person could easily chew up 250-600GB. Multiply these figures by say 2-3 to account for parents and the kids, and Netflix could be chewing up over 500-1000GB!

Not to mention other data consumption such as YouTube, Facebook, general browsing and emailing, software updates, and photos or file uploads and downloads.

What is the typical household usage – then and now?


At NewSprout we offered a 100GB plan – 80% of clients fitted on this plan back then.

Around 15% fitted on our 250GB plan with plenty of room to binge, and the remainder being very high usage clients – web designers, architects, photographers, gamers.


By 2017 those 80% were  in the main using more than 100GB, on average around 120GB give or take. We got rid of it, and increased the 250GB to 300GB. This gave most of our users room to have busy months such as Christmas and NewYear, school holidays, Netflix binges.

We also introduced a 30GB plan for those very few clients who only used the internet for email and general browsing.

Fast forward to 2019

The 300GB clients are now maxing out even halfway through the billing period. They need a bigger plan.

And our 30GB clients are using close to 100% every month, with around half of them actually topping up and actually needing closer to 60GB. They have simply outgrown the plan.

What now?

We will soon be introducing Unlimited plans across the board to make it much simpler and to account for the Netflix and 4K UltraHD Smart TV effect. With perhaps the best No contract, No minimum payment pricing the industry has seen.

Unlimited plans were once really only needed for UV and Vitamin D deprived gamers and busy enterprises, but even the average household probably should be on Unlimited come 2020.

Lastly, there are streaming alternatives to Netflix

We do not wish to seem biased so remember there are other alternatives to Netflix such as SBS on demand, iView, Stan, and Foxtel.

On a personal note, if you haven’t checked out SBS On Demand…do it. There’s a lot of cracking content on there.