Sunday, 26 July 2015 08:55

Mobiles – The older you are, the more you pay Featured

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 In Australia, there is a strong correlation between your age and the size of your mobile phone bill. Younger people are more likely to use cheaper SIM-only plans.

Market research firm Canstar Blue has released its latest Australian survey on users’ satisfaction with mobile service providers. The survey found that four out of five Australian mobile phone users are happy with their mobile phone service provider – but almost half think they are paying too much.

The average spend of postpaid users is $62 per month, up from $58 in 2014. Meanwhile the average monthly spend of prepaid customers has risen by just $1 to $30 per month.

Around two-thirds of postpaid users acquired their phone by signing up to a plan. Tech-savvy young people appear to be benefiting from low-cost SIM-only deals, while older Aussies are left paying expensive contracts, said head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle

“Generally the older you get the more expensive your phone bill becomes,” she said. “Those aged 18-29 are spending an average $10 less per month than those in their 50s, from $56 to $66. “But the opposite is true when it comes to prepaid users, with those aged 18-29 spending an average $10 more per month than those in their 50s, from $27 to $37.

“It may be a case that the lure of smartphones is attracting older Aussies to more expensive contracts, while their kids are trying to get the ultimate bang for their buck.” The survey found that 79% of adults on a plan said they are happy with their current deal, but 47% believe they could pay less with another service provider.

“This is especially true of the younger generation who, despite already paying less, are the least content with their current plan and the most convinced that even more savings could be made with another provider,” said Doyle. “Overall 22% said they would like to switch and once again those aged 18-29 were the most likely.”

When it comes to the most important feature of phone plans, data allowance was crucial for young people, while those in their 50s were more drawn towards call time. “Young peoples’ frustration with their plans seems to be primarily driven by data usage, with 35% regularly exceeding their monthly allowance,” said Doyle.

“Older Aussies are much more likely to stay within the limitations of their contracts and generally remain happier customers, even if they are paying more.” Of adults who use a prepaid service, 86% said they are happy with their current arrangement, but 39% believe they could get a better deal by switching to another provider and 18% would like to do so, with young people again showing the most discontent.

Overall, 22% of prepaid customers said they have switched from plans in the last two years, citing a frustration with being locked into contracts and paying for a service they don’t use as the main reason. But many may regret the move. “One in three young people are spending lengthy periods of time without credit because they quickly spend it all,” said Doyle. “A similar number had switched to prepaid from plans, but are clearly struggling to find the perfect balance to suit their needs.”

Survey respondents were also asked to rate their mobile service provider across a range of criteria, including data management assistance, customer service and value for money, forming Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings for prepaid and postpaid providers. iiNet, Amaysim and Optus topped the postpaid ratings, and ALDImonile, Amaysim and Optus topped the prepaid ratings.

“In 2014 Amaysim stood out from the crowd in both categories and has once again performed strongly,” said Doyle. “But this year iiNet has struck a winning balance between great service and value for money, while ALDImobile continues to emerge and impress with a fantastic offering for prepaid users.” The full results can be seen here.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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