Media Release

$152.6 million wasted: Aussies paying the price for excess data

        • 27% have exceeded their data limit in the past 12 months
        • 16% don't know how to check how much data they've used
        • How to avoid going over your plan

2 December, 2019, Sydney, Australia – Aussies are pouring millions of dollars down the drain by exceeding their data limit shows new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

The survey of 1,023 respondents revealed that Aussies have blown a combined $152.6 million on excess data charges over the past 12 months.

Over one in four (27%) go over their data cap at least once per year, with some Aussies exceeding their limit between 8- 12 times per year.

Angus Kidman, tech expert at Finder, said that many Aussies misjudge the amount of data they need.

"Some Aussies will underestimate their data usage and opt for a cheaper plan to save money. But this can end up backfiring when you go over your limit.

"Signing up to a new phone contract can be costly, especially if you're after the latest model smartphone.

"But a plan with a generous amount of data is much better value than paying through the nose for excess data charges.

"If you're locking yourself in for two or sometimes three years, you'll inevitably use more data as time goes on," he said.

In fact ACCC figures show from June 2018 to May 2019, Aussies consumed an extra 77,445 terabytes of data via their smartphones. This represents an extra 31% more data consumed via our phones.

"It's generally cheaper to pay for a more generous data limit than face excess data charges."

Finder's research found that 16% of Aussies don't know how to check their data usage, while a further 29% know how to check but rarely do.

Kidman said that in this day and age, there's no excuse for Aussies not to keep tabs on their data usage.

"Telcos are required to notify customers if they're close to exceeding their data limit. This means you should be checking any text messages received from your provider.

"If you're regularly exceeding your limit, it's time to bump up your plan and start getting better value for money.

"There are plenty of affordable plans on the market for data-hungry customers," Kidman said.

Number of times you've exceeded your data limitPercentageCost
1-3 times
4-7 times
8- 12 times

Best plans for data lovers

Number of times you've exceeded your data limitFeaturesCost
Optus Epic Data- 45GB of data
- Up to 200GB rollover
- Unlimited calls and texts
- Unlimited international calls to 15 destinations
Lebara Large- 38GB of data
- Data banking up to 200GB and data gifting up to 10GB per month
- Unlimited calls and texts
- Unlimited talk and text to 45 countries
Vodafone Plus- 30GB of data at max speed, but you can keep using data at no extra cost
- Unlimited calls and texts
- 1,000 international minutes
Moose- 80GB of data
- Unlimited calls and texts
- $400 international call credit

How to avoid going over your plan

  • Check your previous bills. Before signing up to a new phone contract, check your last three bills to see how data you're using each month. From here you should choose a plan with slightly more data than you're used to, to account for your usage increasing over time.
  • Check your app. Most telcos provide billing or usage apps that allow you to check how much data you've chewed through during your billing cycle. Just make sure you remember to check it regularly.
  • Stick to WiFi where possible. This is the simplest way to keep your data usage down. Make sure you've switched your mobile data off, as well as any data assist functions, and avoid banking or shopping on free public WiFi.


For further information


The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

About Finder

Every month 2.6 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now have offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit

12.6 million average unique monthly audience (June- September 2019), Nielsen Digital Panel

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