Media Release

Data delusion: Aussies think unlimited phone data is worth $53 a month

  • In 2016, Aussies were prepared to pay $60 for unlimited data on mobile plans
  • Gen Y is prepared to fork out the most for unlimited gigabytes
  • How to choose your data limit

12 December 2017, Sydney, Australia – There’s still no such thing as an unlimited mobile data plan Down Under but Australians are already putting the brakes on what they’d be prepared to pay for it, reveals finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.

In a survey of 2,017 Australians, finder.com.au asked how much they’d cough up for unlimited mobile data, along with unlimited calls and texts.

Apparently it’s only worth $53 per month; a significant drop from the $60 Australians said they’d be prepared to spend a year ago.

Alex Kidman, Tech Expert at finder.com.au, says our appetite for data is limitless but our budget certainly isn’t.

“Australians spend every spare moment surfing the net on their smartphones, but they have a distinct idea on what they’re prepared to pay for that data usage. And it’s low,” he says.

“When it does arrive, unlimited data will not be cheap and probably not in the vicinity of $50.”

“At the moment a plan of 20GB or so on the 4G network is at least $50. Given that Telstra has an iPhone plan for 120GB at $179, it’s highly unlikely that an unlimited plan could be $53.”

There are a number of high usage data plans in the market, topping out at 200GB of usage, he says.

“They do exist in the US and UK but there are often harsh speed-limiting strings attached. Unlimited plans would not make financial sense for carriers in Australia”.

"Data allowances have increased, but there are no signs of unlimited data becoming available any time soon."

Not surprisingly Generation Y (those aged 18-34) valued unlimited data more than any other generation.

At $60, Gen Y is prepared to spend 30% more than Baby Boomers ($46).

Video streaming generally consumes the most data, but we forget that we also watch video via our Instagram and Facebook feeds.

“How much mobile data can we use per month is a bit like how long is a piece of string,” says Mr Kidman.

“This is largely due to rapidly evolving technology, and particularly what it’s enabled us to do. It wasn’t that long ago that the idea we might watch HD video direct to our phones would have seemed like a fantasy.”

Customers looking for an alternative to their monthly capped plans had better not hold their breath for unlimited plans.

GenerationHow much would you pay for unlimited data, calls and text per month?
Gen Z$58
Gen Y$60
Gen X$52
Baby Boomers$46

How to choose your data limit


1. Check how much data you’re currently using
Look at your last bill and check what the data limit is. Then look at your last three or so bills to see whether you’re regularly meeting or exceeding your limit. There's no point in spending extra money for data you'll never use, or for that matter being stung for excess usage fees when a higher-tier plan might be a better fit.

2. Consider your needs
Based on this, you should have a good idea of how many gigabytes you need per month. Just like your parents bought a school uniform a few sizes bigger for you to grow into, a similar rule applies to data limits.

According to ACMA, the average Australian mobile phone handset internet subscriber used around 1.9GB of data per month in 2014 and in 2016, this jumped to 5.5GB per month.

We’re increasingly using our phones to watch videos, use social media and play games when we’re out and about so it’s generally better to anticipate that your data usage will increase in the next 12 to 24 months.

3. Jump online and compare
Now that you have a data limit in mind, you can start to compare mobile plans. Most plans now offer unlimited call and texts, so you should be comparing plans based on their data limits and bonus features such as unmetered Spotify or international call inclusions.

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For further information

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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