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Aussies Exceeding Mobile Data Limits Amid Rise Of Streaming

One in five Australian smartphone users are regularly exceeding their mobile data limits amid the rise in video and music streaming, Roy Morgan Research figures show.

Roy Morgan research shows that 19 per cent of Australian smartphone users aged 14+ (3 million) often go over their mobile data limit.

Among smartphone users aged 14-24, 32 per cent often go over their data limit, with 29 per cent of users aged 25-34 regularly exceeding their limit, dropping to 15 per cent of smartphone users aged 35-49, and continuing to decline with age.

Roy Morgan notes that younger users tend to use their smartphones for a wider range of internet activities, with users aged 14-34 over eight times more likely than those 50-plus to be streaming video or music.

While over three in five Australians aged 50-plus now use a smartphone, only 55 per cent perform any internet activities at all via their smartphone in an average four weeks, with only 9 per cent of smartphone users aged 50-64 and 7 per cent aged 65-plus often exceeding their data limits.

Smartphone users connected with Optus or Vodafone are most likely to exceed their data limits (23 per cent), while those connected with amaysim, TPG and ALDImobile are least likely (13 per cent).

Percent of smartphone users by age and provider who often go over their data limit

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 – June 2016 n = 10,145 Australian smartphone owners 14+

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2015 – June 2016 n = 10,145 Australian smartphone owners 14+

“As smartphone usage ballooned, especially on the 4G network, so too did usage of data-heavy service like video streaming,” Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine commented. “In 2014, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman reported that consumer complaints about excess data charges were on the rise – but a year later they had declined dramatically.

“Mobile service providers had cottoned on that predatory billing wasn’t doing them any favours in a competitive market, and that finding solutions to ‘bill shock’ was as much in their own interests as their customers’ long-term.”

“Optus led the way in mid-2013, moving to a flat $10 rate for an extra gigabyte of data on eligible plans rather than a per-megabyte charge up to 25 times higher. The next network owner to change its excess data charge was Vodafone, and customers with these two providers are now the most likely to say they often go over their limit (and perhaps pay the provider an extra $10 of revenue without feeling gouged).”

Conversely, Levine noted it may be that amaysim, TPG and ALDImobile customers “are being extra-careful with their data because of a greater concern about extra usage charges”.

Levine stated that 20 per cent of smartphone owners cite a bigger data allowance as being one of the reasons they chose their current provider, while this was greater among users who switched in the past year, with one in three citing the size of their data allowance as a reason.

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