Data Credits are the mechanism by which all usage is paid and accounted for on the Helium Network. The same Data Credit token can be used interchangeably on any Network within Helium. However, once Data Credits have been delegated, they cannot be redelegated. Data Credits are not transferable once created.
For further reading on Data Credits and their place in the overall token mechanics of the Helium Network, please read more about burn and mint economics in the HNT token documentation.
Data Credit Usage
Data Credits (DCs) are needed to pay for packets sent on the Helium Network. Every 24 bytes sent in a packet costs 1 DC which equals $0.00001.
Data Credits are used first and foremost as the payment of data transfer on the Helium IoT and Mobile networks. In the original design of the Network, it was recognized that users of the Network would not be comfortable with the typical volatility that comes with typical token economics. Therefore, Data Credits were designed such that all data transfer is pinned to USD, making it predictable. One Data Credit equals $0.00001 USD.
Unlike traditional wireless networks, the Helium Network has no annual fee, and you only pay for data you use.
As the Helium Network has evolved to support multiple types of data transfer, Data Credits have grown to handle a larger role in support of these different protocols.
Data Credits and IoT
On the Helium IoT Network, the primary utility of Data Credits is for network data transfer. Data transfer is billed in 24-byte increments. Data transfer is only billed if it is delivered through the Helium Network.
Network users also have the choice to purchase multiple reports of the same packet. These additional reports each account for their own cost. For instance, if three 24-byte copies are returned for a given message, the cost would be 3 DC.
Message Payload Size
|0-24 bytes||25-48 bytes||... 241 bytes|
|1 DC||2 DC||... 11 DC|
Data Transfer Calculator
Use this calculator to estimate deployment costs based on the number of devices and how often they send data.
This calculator assumes a 24-byte message size which is typical of most deployments.
|Per Day||Per Month||Per Year|
In addition to Network data transfer, Data Credits are also utilized for certain network-related fees.
Data Credits and Mobile
In much the same design as the IoT network, the cellular network leverages Data Credits as the sole mechanism of billing and fee management. However, as a separate protocol, different pricing mechanics apply. While the IoT network charges data at a rate of $0.00001 per 24-byte message, the Mobile network charges data at a rate of $0.50 per 1 gigabyte (50,000 DC).
On cellular networks, it is customary that network operators bill for bulk data rather than for individual packets. By setting the data cost to $0.50 per gigabyte, the Helium Mobile Network positions itself competitively in the marketplace while preserving valuable rewards for the mobile Hotspot Operator.
Fees related to onboarding and location assert have not yet been defined for the Mobile Network.
Acquiring Data Credits
If you already have HNT or your organization is comfortable using cryptocurrencies for business, swapping HNT to Data Credits using the on-chain Helium programs is the most direct means of acquiring Data Credits.
Sphere Data Credit Portal
The Data Credit Portal built by Sphere allows Network users to acquire Data Credits without directly holding cryptocurrency. The tool is designed for allocating Data Credits for Network users like LNS operators or mobile service providers. The tool provides a clear invoice once transactions are complete to simplify accounting.
Purchasing Data Credits
Obtaining Data Credits is the same as on the Helium Console focused on device management and onboarding. Users can use a credit card (recommended method) and set up a recurring payment or burn HNT. For a video tutorial of how to purchase Data Credits on Console, check out our Tips & Tricks video here.
In addition to purchasing Data Credits, users can transfer Data Credits among Organizations under the same account.
To transfer Data Credits (same account only with multiple Organizations): click Data Credits, and hit Transfer DC to Org. On the pop up, enter the quantity of Data Credits to transfer and receiving Organization. Click Make Transfer.
Further reading: how Data Credits fit into Helium Tokenomics here.