Bill shock hits one in two mobile phone users: study

Telecom Lead Asia: Macquarie University Australia said
Bill shock is hitting nearly half of Australian mobile phone users and is
costing the country more than $557 million a year.


45 per cent of mobile phone users suffered bill shock
last year, with the median overspends $40 per bill, according to the State of
the Mobile Nation report by Macquarie University.


The research revealed that the main reasons for surprise
were voice calls at 54 per cent, followed by data usage at 20 per cent and SMS
at 18 per cent.


When it comes to mobile phones, greater choice is not
translating into value for consumers. The research shows that bill shock is
consistently experienced by consumers signing up to traditional plans. They are
being offered lots of choice but it’s not translating into value. Households
are wasting hundreds of dollars a year,” said David Gray, senior lecturer
at Macquarie University.


Of more than 1600 people surveyed, only a third reported
using all of the inclusions in their phone plans. People on a 24-month cap plan
reported the highest levels of under-utilization, with only a quarter believing
they used all of their plan’s included value.


“Consumers in Australia find it harder to compare
mobile carrier offers; they have little trust in the industry to respect their
rights … they find it harder to switch suppliers…. and consumers don’t
think that the mobile carriers behave ethically,” the report said.


Despite an estimated $623 million being saved by
consumers as a result of switching carriers, the study revealed that only 16
per cent of mobile phone users had changed. Consumers needed to voice their
concerns or switch providers.

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