Home Mobility Data charges drive up mobile user costs: survey
Data charges drive up mobile user costs: survey Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Excess data charges are the main reasons Australians are hit by additional costs for using their smartphones, with new research also revealing that exceeding call allowances and texting or calling from overseas are also primary reasons for Aussies incurring high mobile usage charges.   

The research by comparison website finder.com.au also found that most Aussies have a high tolerance for overspending on their mobiles, revealing that, on average, they spend $44 per month on their phone plan, but only "hit the roof" when they open a bill of $216, almost five times the amount of their base plan.

After excess data charges, exceeding call allowances and texting or calling from overseas are the other primary reasons for Aussies to incur additional costs for using their smartphones.

And, according to Finder — which surveyed 2085 smarphone users — one in 10 (11%) Aussies experienced mobile phone bill shock in the last year – equivalent to 1.6 million smartphone users.

Finder’s Alex Kidman says many Aussies are “clearly numb to extra costs on their phone plans”.

“The fact that bills double our base plan aren’t ringing alarms bells means we just expect to pay add-on fees, and that’s a worry.

peter finder“Excess data charges are the main culprit for high bills, and telcos are very clear about charging those fees, so this could well be why there’s a higher tolerance for expensive bills.

“The reality is with the right plan and a good understanding of charges, bill shock can be avoided, or at least occur less frequently.”

Kidman says the survey found that bill shock sets in “at a steep $240 for data-hungry Gen Y (those aged 24-38) compared to $148 for budget-conscious Baby Boomers (aged 59 plus)”.

“Women have a lower bill shock threshold than men; a bill of $200 would make them uncomfortable compared to $231 for men,” Kidman says.

“Ignorance is not always bliss. Phone usage deserves your attention.

“When you receive a message notifying you that you’re close to reaching your data usage cap, don’t stick your head in the sand: reassess your usage. Better yet if you’re getting this message every other month, it’s time to change plans and opt for a bigger allowance.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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