Media Release

Report: Aussies spent $259 million on excess data charges in the last year

  • Aussies spent 78% more on charges in the last 12 months compared to 2016
  • One in five regularly blow their monthly data cap
  • How to avoid excess data charges

18 October 2017, Sydney, Australia – Aussies are underestimating their mobile data needs more than ever, reveals finder.com.au’s 2017 Excess Data Charges Report.

Surveying 2,010 respondents, the report shows Aussies wasted an extra $113 million in excess data charges - equivalent to 78% more - in the past 12 months compared to last year.

One in five Australian adults (19.6%) regularly exceed their data allowance, up from 13.4% in 2016 and 5.6% in 2015.

With an average industry cost of $10 per extra GB and conservatively estimating each smartphone user went over their data cap by just 1GB, this represents $259 million cumulatively spent on excess data charges.

Alex Kidman, tech expert at finder.com.au, says it’s wise to look at the fine print of your contract before you sign the dotted line, especially as charges can vary.

“Some telcos are now charging $12 or even $13 per extra gigabyte which may not seem like a big deal, but if you’re regularly going over your allowance, that could be an extra few hundred dollars a year.”

“Our report shows Aussies are increasingly underestimating how much data they need, and they’re paying for it. But what many don’t realise is choosing a higher limit is typically a lot cheaper than paying excess data charges.”

“If you’re running into excess data charges three or four times a year, you should consider switching your plan to a more data-friendly option.”

“Our mobile data consumption continues to grow as we increasingly use our phones for watching videos and social media, so the key is to generally overestimate how much data you’ll need when choosing a new plan.”

A worrying 16% don’t even know if they exceed their limit as they have auto-debit and never check the total of their bill

A third of Gen Y (36%) regularly go over their data limits versus 21% of Gen X and 7% Baby Boomers.

How often do you go over your data allowance?PercentageNumber of AussiesExcess data cost
Once in the past 12 months23.2%4.35 million$43.5 million
3-4 times in the past 12 months10.9%2.05 million$71.7 million
Every second month4.5%0.84 million$50.3 million
Every month4.2%0.75 million$93.9 million

How to avoid excess data charges

1. Check your data limit
It may sound simple, but the key to avoiding excess charges is knowing what your limit is and then slowing down until the month ticks over. You can also use apps and alerts which will help you manage your consumption.

2. Know what apps are data-hungry
Some apps consume more data than others. For example video streaming is the number one candidate for why your mobile data bills are so high, especially if you watch video at higher quality data rates.

3. Avoid those activities when you’re out and about
After you’ve brushed up on how much data apps and activities consume, think twice before you use them. You might be bored on the bus, but one hour of YouTube at the end of the month could mean an extra $10 to your bill.

4. Use free Wi-Fi
Wherever you can, tap into free Wi-Fi. Just be mindful but that public networks can be a major security risk. Hold off doing your banking or shopping online on free Wi-Fi to when you have a secure connection.

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Disclaimer

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 finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and 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 two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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