How to save big on your mobile bill
THERE'S no denying that we're obsessed with our phones.
The little devices act as a personal window to the entire world and have quickly become a permanent fixture in our daily lives - and it's a habit costing us about $9 billion dollars a year. Or to put it another way, we spend roughly $375 per annum for every man, woman and child in Australia.
That's according to consumer comparison website Finder.com.au which surveyed users to look at what Aussies were spending on their mobile obsession.
Despite the relatively large sum of cash we're coughing up, it's actually slightly less than the previous year.
The website conducted a survey of 2085 people with results showing that Aussie adults pay on average $44 per month for their mobile phone plan, down from $48 a year ago. The figure represents $770 million a month on mobile phone plan payments or $9 billion a year.
The decline on mobile spending in the sample is likely due to fewer people paying off the cost of their handset on plans known as mobile bundles.
Only 26 per cent of Aussies are on a device and data bundle, down from 36 per cent in 2017.
Finder.com.au tech expert Alex Kidman believes the trend is likely to continue and with new carriers and unlimited data offers coming to market, consumers can position themselves to win big.
"These days we're hanging onto the same phone for much longer. While there will always be those who refresh regularly, or who have to have the latest and greatest phone, many of us are happy hanging onto an older model," he said in a blog post.
"Competition is fierce among telcos and mobile plan pricing is changing so quickly that being tied down for 24 months isn't your best bet if you want to save."
Whether people are hanging onto their phone for longer or opting to buy cheaper models outright, buying data-only plans can be a good way to save on your monthly mobile bill.
Particularly as the country's major telcos are all competing with new so-called unlimited data plans. Optus was the first, followed by Telstra and Vodafone earlier this month.
While unlimited in name, the plans do have restrictions. For Optus customers, speeds are throttled during certain activities like streaming video, and for Telstra and Vodafone customers download speeds are capped after users have chewed through a certain amount of monthly data.
TPG is the latest to join the party announcing it will provide a very seductive offer when it launches its mobile network later this year. The plan will be completely free for the first six months and then just $10 per month thereafter. However on the TPG plan users will get the first gigabyte of data each day at 4G LTE speeds, after which speeds will be capped at 1 Mbps for the remainder of the day.
TPG is wading into the already crowded mobile market with a network concentrated in the inner cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane which it expects to launch in the second half of the year.
It's this increased competition and the declining cost of data that means customers can significantly reduce their monthly phone bills, especially if they're willing to do the work of shopping around.
"Plan hopping takes a little more time, but if you want to limit your mobile spending, it does work," Mr Kidman said.
"If you've finished repaying your handset but you're happy to hold onto to that phone, it's definitely time to switch plans at the very least. The deal you were on two years ago will be much cheaper today."