How often do Australians exceed their data limits?

Angus Kidman 6 September 2016

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One in five of us can't make it to the end of the month.

I just checked my mobile phone data usage. With a week to go, I've only used 3GB of my 7GB monthly allowance. It might be time to celebrate with a YouTube viewing binge.

Not everyone will be so lucky. Recent research from Roy Morgan shows that 19% of Australians exceed their data limits each month. The younger you get, the more likely that is: almost a third (32%) of 14-24 year olds end up using more data than their plan includes. Here's the full picture by age:

It also turns out you're more likely to exceed your limit on some providers than others. Optus and Vodafone top that particular chart, with 23% of their customers regularly breaking through the data barriers. It's also interesting that 20% of Boost customers exceed their limits, which suggests not everyone finds getting free extra data only on the weekends useful.

Going over your limit isn't as expensive as it used to be. Most providers now stick to charging $10 for an extra GB if you go over the limit on a contract plan. That means you won't run up an enormous bill, but it is annoying if you hit that limit just a day or two before your plan rolls over. If that's happening to you regularly, it might be time to upgrade to a plan with a bigger data limit (our guide to plans with 10GB or more of data each month is a good place to start).

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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