Media Release

Data-hungry Aussies fork out $181 million on excess charges

    • 2.8 million Aussies regularly exceed their mobile data limit
    • 10GB average data limit, up from 6GB in 2017
    • Signs it’s time to switch plans

19 November, 2018, Sydney, Australia – Australians are wasting millions on excess data charges despite unlimited data plans being available, reveals new research by, the site that compares virtually everything.’s Excess Data Charges Report found that 15% of Aussies – equivalent to 2.8 million smartphone users – regularly went over their mobile data limit in the last 12 months.

With an extra gigabyte costing around $10 on average, this represents $181 million spent on excess data usage1.

This figure is down by 30% compared to the same period last year, where Aussies racked up an extra $259 million on top of their regular phone bill.

Alex Kidman, Tech Expert at, says the arrival of unlimited data has seen smaller players bump up their data allowances.

“Unlimited data has amped up competition amongst providers, meaning better deals for consumers.”

“Many Aussies will notice that they have outgrown their data needs. ABS statistics show that we chewed through 246,765 terabytes of data on our smartphones between April to June.”

“Between watching videos, streaming music and the endless allure of social media, we’re consuming more data than ever before,” he said.

Of 2,013 respondents, the study shows the average Aussie is on a phone plan of 10GB of data, up from 6GB in 2017.

Over the last 12 months, the amount of Aussies on plans over 21GB has almost doubled.

Kidman says that switching telcos may seem daunting, but those who do are reaping the benefits financially.

“Many Aussies stick with the same provider but the reality is loyalty doesn’t pay off.”

“If you’ve been on the same plan for two to three years, it’s absolutely time to start shopping around for a better deal. A little can go a long way when upping your monthly data allowance.”

Since becoming available in Australia for the very first time this year, just 5% of Aussies are on an unlimited mobile plan.

1Methodology: There are 18 million adult smartphone users in Australia, The average excess data charge fee is $10 per 1GB. If all these users go over their data cap by just 1GB, estimates Aussies are spending a combined bill of $181 million for excess charges.

How often did you go over your data limit in the last 12 months?
I went over my data limit every month4%$88,913,858
I went over my data limit 6 times a year3%$33,342,697
I went over my data limit 3 to 4 times8%$44,456,929
I went over my data limit once8%$44,456,929
I didn’t exceed my data limit41%N/A

source: survey of 2,013 Australians conducted in October 2018.

Data Limit20172018
Up to 2GB26%24%
3GB - 5GB31%26%
6GB - 10GB22%17%
11GB - 15GB5%8%
16GB - 20GB6%7%

Signs it’s time to switch plans

  • Your contract has run out: Now is the perfect time to compare your options online and find a more suitable phone plan. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of your new plan.
  • You’re running into excess data charges: If you’re constantly exceeding your limit, have a read over your last few bills to work out how many gigabytes you’re using each month. From there, you’ll be able to bump up your data limit.
  • You need a new phone: If your current model is on its last legs, a new plan can be a good way to upgrade your smartphone.


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

Go to site