55% of us have no idea how much data we use per task

A NATIONWIDE survey from one of Australia's biggest comparison websites has revealed that not only  do Australians go over their mobile data limits, they pay for it too - more than $10 million, in fact.

The  survey of 1351 respondents found that while two out of five Australians have gone over their data allotment, six per cent do it regularly.

Based on 17 million adults in Australia, and many major telcos charging $10/GB for every extra GB,'s research shows that Australians are wasting a combined $10.2 million on excessive mobile data charges.

With 31 million active mobile phone accounts in Australia - equivalent to 1.8 mobile phones per adult - this figure increases to $18.6 million.

For many, this may simply be a case of negligence, with 55% of respondents stating they have 'no idea' how much data they use for different tasks. This compares to another 26% of respondents having 'some idea' of where their data goes.

Only a startling 19% of respondents were confident that they have a rough idea of their data usage.

This confidence is questionable, however, considering 32% of these people had still tipped their data usage over the limit.

Angus Kidman, tech expert at says that while there are tips to reducing your usage, your best bet may be to find a more accommodating offer.

"Our survey found that the average Australian uses 2GB of data per month, but the fact that we're seeing many people exceeding their allocated data usage and if you're one of them it may be time to reconsider your current plan .

"Australians looking to minimise their data bills should look at where the bulk of their phone costs are coming from. The first step there is to work out whether outright plans are actually cheaper for your usage behaviours, or if a plan will provide you with better value."

Kidman also warns Australians to carefully consider global roaming charges if heading overseas this holiday season.

"When you're in a different country and time zone, you're more likely to be using Facebook than making phone calls, uploading photos and video, taking lots of photos and using Google maps to find your way around. But, don't just rely on the default roaming settings.

"You'll end up paying an absolute fortune, especially for data. For example, Telstra's default charge is $3 per megabyte.

"The most affordable option is usually to buy a local SIM when you land. If travelling with a partner or friend, look for a SIM on a network that allows free calls and texts to other customers on the same network.

"Using mobile data or your phone overseas doesn't have to break the bank, but it's up to you to do your research before getting on that plane to avoid getting ripped off." 

Tips to minimising mobile data usage:

Facebook: The addition of autoplaying video on Facebook for example is a prime culprit for chewing up lots of your quota. Always disable Facebook's auto-playing of video streams, as well as checking the exact settings for data usage within the Facebook app to lower image quality.

Spotify: If you're regularly going over your data due to music streaming, consider paying the $11 monthly fee to have access to the offline playing option. It could save you in the long run, all for the price of a few coffees.

Candy Crush: This applies to all games - drop your phone into airplane mode, as some games will use data even if it's not required to run. It may also reduce the number of advertisement pop-ups!

Web browsing: Turning off 'image loading by default' is an easy way to reduce the amount of data per web page - definitely a good case of set and forget.

Email: Set your email to check infrequently, because even checking sessions use fractions of data, and your provider may charge in larger blocks even if you're only using small amounts.

Video: Try to set the video quality as low as your eyes can handle. You'll not only save data costs, but also minimise the amount of buffering each video has to perform before it will play smoothly.

Topics:  data internet mobile phones

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