Excess data use on phones and the internet over the holidays

Many mobile and internet plans will give you a fixed data allowance for a monthly fee. Once you go over your fixed allowance you may be charged extra for the data you use at a much higher rate.

Over the holidays you and your family may use up your monthly data allowance faster than usual. Depending on your plan this could expose you to excess data charges.

Communications Alliance recently stated that analysis of customer complaints about excess charges for mobile data use during the past year show an increase in such complaints just after school holiday periods.

If you or your family are on a post-paid plan for your mobile phone, device or home broadband, here are some tips to avoid excess charges:

  • if you are on a post-paid mobile plan look out for usage alerts, sent by your service provider, when you hit 50%, 85% and 100% of your data allowance (note that these alerts may be received up to 48 hours after you have hit the relevant amount - so make allowances for immediate past usage)
  • be aware that some services such as streaming will use a greater amount of your data allowance
  • take advantage of spend management tools to monitor your usage in real-time
  • check your critical information summary to see how your excess usage charges are calculated
  • use free or low-cost Wi-Fi where possible
  • if you are close to hitting your data limit, talk to your provider about how to avoid or minimise excess usage charges. Some providers offer inexpensive data packs that you can add to your allowance and/or plans that simply bump you up to the next biggest data allowance if you exceed your usual allowance.

For more information see: Managing your data usage.

Published date: 
3 December 2014