Developers of a new app that allows users to buy "time" rather than data believe it could change the way we top up our phones.

Data Clock, by 2degrees, will allow people to buy 5 minutes of unlimited data for about 50 cents, 10 minutes for 60 cents, an hour for $1.50, three hours for $2 and 24 hours of unlimited data will cost $6.

However, pricing will be dynamic and will vary from day-to-day.

2degrees chief marketing officer Roy Ong said the app could be used by people when they ran out of data on their existing plans, or those who elected to top their calls and texts and only use Data Clock when they needed it.

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"We've found people don't understand how much data they need but interestingly at the same time we've never seen more data use on our network," he said.

"Unlike megabytes and gigabytes, time is something everyone understands. Now you can download the app, purchase a pack and you're done," he said.

Data Clock would be most useful when people ran out of data on their existing plans but didn't want to purchase a whole new pack.

Ong said that the app could signal the start of a new trend for the way that people topped up data on their phones and it was proving very popular.

"In the first week we have surpassed our first month's forecast in terms of sign ups and also revenue," he said.

Data Clock was on Wednesday the most popular new android app on Google Play.