15.6 million GB of data wasted: How bad is your mobile plan?

Posted: 23 March 2021 4:15 pm
Using mobile phone.

You could save up to $500 a year by switching to a better mobile plan.

Research shows that Australians waste a lot of mobile data.

Recent analysis by mobile provider Belong found that customers banked over 15.6 million GB of mobile data in 2020. While banked data can potentially be reused later, why pay for data you're never going to use?

Finder's own surveys show that the typical Australian pays $56 for 40GB per month. Given that the average user in 2018 was using 9GB of mobile data based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Internet Activity Survey, that means many people are paying for 30GB or more of data each month that isn't ever used.

The average cost of a plan with 8GB of data in our database is $15 per month. The typical Australian currently paying $56 a month could save almost $500 a year by switching to a lower-data plan.

How to find a better mobile plan

Worried that you're paying too much for no real benefit? Follow these steps to find a better value phone plan:

  1. Check your actual data use per month. On Android, you can see this by going to Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage, under "Mobile". For Apple, go to Settings > Cellular or Settings > Mobile Data. Both should let you check previous months, too.
  2. Decide on a reasonable allowance. If your usage the past few months has been pretty consistent, that should be a good estimate. If you're worried about using more some months, raise the figure by a couple of gigabytes.
  3. Compare plans. Use our Mobile Plan Finder™ using your data estimate to find a plan that works for you.

Switching is easy

The actual switching process isn't as hard as you think. You can keep your current phone number by choosing to port your number during your checkout process. When your new SIM card arrives, you'll just need to activate your plan and pop it in your phone. The rest is handled by your provider.

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You might not use as much as you think

While you may think that you need a lot of mobile data to keep up with the wealth of online activities these days, the majority actually don't use much data at all:

  • Voice and video calls: 36MB/hr.
  • Social media: 180MB/hr (with videos).
  • Music streaming: 120MB/hr (standard quality).
  • Netflix streaming: 250MB/hr (default mobile quality).

If you were to spend four hours of your day on your phone doing a combination of the above activities, you'd still only burn through half a GB in a day.

Generally, video streaming and downloading large files are the only two activities that chew through a significant volume of data. If you check your phone's breakdown by app, you'll likely find YouTube, Netflix or another video app has used the biggest chunk of data.

Switch and save today

With all of this in mind, it's important that your money goes towards something, rather than hundreds of gigabytes of data you'll never use.

Comparing mobile plans and switching to a better deal where you'll actually use what you're paying for will mean you get to spend more money on other things that make you happy.

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