How much does Facebook really cost?

How much data does it use in your phone?

According to a recent publication, the most updated version of Facebook uses approximately 80 MB per hour for browsing, 160 MB per hour for video. Now, assuming that you are not 24 h using Facebook (although things like notifications also consume data) and that you are sometimes connected to a WiFi, this could be 80 MB x 2 hours/day x 31 days = 4.96 GB per month only using the browsing app.

How much do you pay for it?

In this post we are going to find out how much Facebook really costs to your service provider (i.e., the operator) and compare that with what you pay. We would take as a reference, data from the UK.

At this time, we have that:


And we can get a 2GB for £11. Therefore, the £5.5/GB.

Resultado de imagen de money

How much does data really cost an ISP?

There are many factors to take into account, but according to the GSMA, we can consider:

  • Access network costs: things like base stations and other equipment. For example, Vodafone UK invested £2,000 millions on infrastructure during the last 2 years. The global Vodafone Group invested £19,000 millions
  • Spectrum licenses: the Vodafone Group invested £2,400 millions on spectrum and other taxes in 2016 (these licenses lasts about 20 years).
  • Useful lives of assets: the buildings can last 40 years, the base stations, the transmission and switching equipment and other equipment and tools (cars, computers etc) about 5 years.
  • Age of networks and depreciation methodology: in the following table you can see an estimation of the age of the standards previous to 4G:

while 4G has been active since 2013, approx., globally and 5G is expected to arrive in 2020.

However, these costs are more than covered by their revenues. If we keep using the Vodafone Group as an example, in the year 2016, they:

  • Have 462 millions of subscribers
  • Which used 52000 PB of data.
  • Giving a total revenue of £41,000 millions.

This is why, authors who published articles like this one, agree in selecting the cost of the electricity as the price of GB delivered.

Now, these figures represent global values, so your national operator would invest a proportion of these costs, and this is what we are going to see next.

Estimation in an UK city (only looking at the electricity costs)

According to published statistic, a city with 630,000 subscribers consumes 51,105 MWh in one year (only due to the base stations power consumption which belong to an operator).

Therefore, the electricity consumed in a month is approximately:

51,105 MWh/12 = 4,258.75 MWh/month


The standard electricity rates in the UK can range from around 9-17 p per KWh.

Therefore, the electricity bill for the operator in a month, could be:

(4,258.75 MWh/month/£0.09) x 0.001 MWh= £383,287

Now, let’s be modest, and assume that each subscriber has a 2GB monthly plan, which means, the operator provides:

630,000 subscribers x 2 GB/month= 1.3 PB/month

Which means. the operator is paying:


while you are paying:


which is 18.3 times more than what the operator pays…

So what do you think? Is using Facebook in your phone cheap or expensive? 😉

These are some easy tricks that you can do in your phone to save some data consumption 😀

how to reduce your data usage smartphone future

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