Free smartphone apps such as Angry Birds are costing Brits 115MB of data allowance every hour, says Virgin Media Business.

Research by the business ISP revealed that looked at the top 50 free mobile apps, the average free app consumers 0.89MB of data if it's used for five minutes and 10.7MB if it's used continuously for an hour.

More than one in ten (13 percent ) of the UK's mobile phones are smartphones capable of using apps, and with owners typically using apps for 667 minutes a month, this means each smartphone owner is using a whopping 119MB per month or 1.4GB a year.

Tap Zoo, a mobile game that lets users build a safari park, uses 9.6MB of data in just five minutes and 115 MB in an hour, meaning this app consumes 75,579 percent more data than the least data-hungry app in the top 50, which uses a mere 13kb in a five minute period.

However, Virgin Media Business said it isn't just apps that are offenders when it comes to munching data allowances, video-sharing site YouTube accounts for 17 per cent of all mobile data traffic. Watching YouTube videos on a mobile phone for just one hour can use almost 130 MB of data.

Not only will consumers find they're paying a fortune for their data use or if they're on 'unlimited' plans they may face charges for exceeding their data caps, they'll become increasingly vulnerable to creaking mobile internet connections.

"As more businesses go mobile and look to bring technology from the consumer world into the workplace, it's expected that mobile data traffic will continue to rise rapidly," said George Wareing, head of mobile and broadcast, at Virgin Media Business

Wareing said the study shows spending just a few hours using some apps or streaming multimedia content, can lead to huge traffic surges as vast amounts of data is downloaded.

"As apps become more sophisticated, and businesses look to develop their own applications for employees to use, problems with mobile networks getting clogged up will only intensify.