Have you ever tracked how much time you spend using your phone during the day? You wake up and check emails, Facebook and the weather app. On the way to work you send SMS’s, make a call and scan your Google Calendar. At work, you can’t find your calculator so use the app on your phone. As you go through your day using your mobile, you’re also using your data allowance. And if you exceed the data usage on your plan, you’ll incur an excess mobile data charge.

What is excess mobile data?

Have you ever got an unexpectedly high mobile bill that made you feel a bit faint? As you take a deep breath and scan each item, there’s an excess mobile data charge!

Excess Data is the term used when you exceed your allocated data allowance for the month. In 2017, all Internet and mobile plans offer data allowances that allow you to use your phone for:
• Calls and SMS,
• Browse the Internet,
• Send and receive emails,
• Access social media, and
• Use apps like Google Maps.

And while it’s useful and convenient, having all this at your fingertips, if you use them too much, you’ll get ‘bill shock’!

How do I know how much mobile data I need?

The amount of data you’ll need will depend on how you want to use your phone and it’s features. Taking some time to understand your usage will help you choose a data plan that suits you.

When you speak to your provider about typical mobile data usage, you can ask if you can start on a higher plan and then move to a lower plan. Alternatively, you can start out on a lower plan and move to a higher plan.

It’s important to remember that some apps use more data than others. The following apps use a high amount of data and should be limited where possible:
• Music and video streaming e.g. Spotify, YouTube, Netflix,
• OS updates,
• Installing new apps and app updates,
• Games with online connectivity,
• Emails with large attachments, and
• Video calling

To avoid going over your data limit, when you’re use accessing high usage apps we suggest you use Wi-Fi.

How do I prevent excess data charges?

So how can you avoid going through ‘bill shock’ next month? There are a few ways to keep track of how much data you’ve used during the month.

Most mobile providers provide tools that allow you to track your data usage during a billing period including:
• Website login,
• SMS alerts,
• A specific app, or
• A phone number to call.

It’s important to note that some of these online tools can still take up to 48 hours to update.

To prevent unknown usage, turn off apps or features of your phone, which automatically use up data. Some phone features, like push notifications, use a lot of data in the background and can be easily turned off.

And after you’ve finished using applications, manually shut them off they’re not open and running in the background generating usage.

Excess data charges

Many mobile plans will give you a fixed data allowance for a monthly fee. For example, for $50 a month you might get 1 GB of data (as well as a voice call and SMS allowance).

This means that as long as you only use 1GB or data or less you shouldn’t have to pay anything more than $50 a month for data services. However, once you go over the 1 GB allowance you will be charged extra for the data you use at a much higher rate.

For example, if the excess data rate for the $50 per month plan is $0.15/MB, and you use 1.5GB (or 1500 MB) of data in a month. You will exceed your monthly data allowance by 500 MB, which will cost you an extra $75 on top of your $50 monthly fee. It’s important to speak with your provider and confirm your excess data rates.

To help you avoid bill shock, your telephone or Internet provider must send you spend management alerts (also known as usage notifications) so you can manage your mobile and online spend. Telephone and Internet providers must send alerts to customers who signed up to mobile included value plans or mobile and fixed Internet plans. Alerts apply to national calls, SMS and data use in Australia only. The rules for spend management alerts are in the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/Library/Corporate-library/Forms-and-registers/register-of-codes

If you are on a qualifying plan, you will receive alerts when your data use reaches 50%, 85% and 100% of your data limit or included value for voice calls and SMS. You’ll receive these alerts by either SMS or email.

Sick of excess data charges and need some guidance? We offer a variety of packages that can be tailored to your business – give us a call on 1300 542 142.