Australians still reluctant to switch phone providers

Angus Kidman 30 December 2016 NEWS

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39% of us have used the same company for a decade.

Australians might like to boast about saving money, but the evidence grows that laziness still often trumps trying to find the best deal.

A recent finder.com.au survey suggests that only 36% of us have changed phone providers in the last three years. Even more tellingly, 39% of us have been with the same company for a decade.

That's noteworthy because in the last three years, we've seen big shifts in what mobile plans offer. As you can see if you check our Mobile Plan Finder listings, virtually all plans in the market now include unlimited calls and texts to Australian numbers. If your plan doesn't have that option, the chances are that you're paying too much, making you much more liable to bill shock.

In particular, you're likely to be paying over the odds for data. Excess data charges cost Australians $146 million a year.

Despite being reluctant to switch, Australians also have some odd ideas about what a plan ought to cost. Most of us say we wouldn't pay more than $60 a month for a plan with unlimited data. That's particularly odd considering that ACMA figures show the average bill size is $85 a month.

One obvious reason why people might not have considered switching is because "only one network is available in my area". That's a relevant consideration - but only if it's true. All three networks have undertaken major expansions in the last three years, so coverage has improved in many places. And even if you really can only get one provider, that doesn't mean you have to buy from that provider. Using an MVNO means you can use the same network, but pay a much lower price.

My advice? If you haven't changed plans in a long time, spend some time in early 2017 checking whether there's a better deal out there. Happy new year!

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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